CNA Certification Requirements By State (2024)

Table of Contents
Why is CNA Certification Important? General CNA Certification Requirements CNA Certification Programs Classroom Instruction Clinical Training CNA Exams License & Certification Process CNA Certification Requirements by State Alabama CNA Requirements Alaska CNA Requirements Arizona CNA Requirements Arkansas CNA Requirements California CNA Requirements Colorado CNA Requirements Connecticut CNA Requirements Delaware CNA Requirements Florida CNA Requirements Georgia CNA Requirements Hawaii CNA Requirements Idaho CNA Requirements Illinois CNA Requirements Indiana CNA Requirements Iowa CNA Requirements Kansas CNA Requirements Kentucky CNA Requirements Louisiana CNA Requirements Maine CNA Requirements Maryland CNA Requirements Massachusetts CNA Requirements Michigan CNA Requirements Minnesota CNA Requirements Mississippi CNA Requirements Missouri CNA Requirements Montana CNA Requirements Nebraska CNA Requirements Nevada CNA Requirements New Hampshire CNA Requirements New Jersey CNA Requirements New Mexico CNA Requirements New York CNA Requirements North Carolina CNA Requirements North Dakota CNA Requirements Ohio CNA Requirements Oklahoma CNA Requirements Oregon CNA Requirements Pennsylvania CNA Requirements Rhode Island CNA Requirements South Carolina CNA Requirements South Dakota CNA Requirements Tennessee CNA Certification Requirements Texas CNA Requirements Utah CNA Requirements Vermont CNA Certification Requirements Virginia CNA Requirements Washington CNA Requirements Washington DC CNA Requirements West Virginia CNA Certification Requirements Wisconsin CNA Requirements Wyoming CNA Certification Requirements FAQs CAN YOU GET A CNA LICENSE ONLINE? WHAT IS THE CNA CERTIFICATION EXAM LIKE? WHAT KIND OF TRAINING IS REQUIRED TO BECOME A CNA? HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COMPLETE CNA TRAINING? WHAT CNA JOB OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE? HOW CAN CNAS CONTINUE THEIR EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT? FAQs References

Are you considering a career in nursing but need help knowing where to start? A certified nursing assistant (CNA) certification is a basic nursing credential that kickstarts the career of many healthcare workers.

CNAs are nursing aides who care for patients under a registered nurse's (RN) supervision. To practice as a CNA, you must complete a state-approved training program.

This guide takes a state-by-state approach to CNA certification requirements. We'll discuss the importance of certification, what to expect from your program and CNA certification requirements by state. Read on to learn more about becoming a CNA in your state.

Why is CNA Certification Important?

Depending on where you live, you may not need to complete a CNA training program to earn a certification. But even in those states, program completion has its benefits. Your participation in a CNA program proves your qualifications to provide the highest level of care.

As a CNA, you'll work in healthcare environments like hospitals and long-term care centers. Your day-to-day tasks will involve close patient care activities like:

  • Helping patients bathe, dress, and eat
  • Checking and recording vital signs
  • Mobility assistance and repositioning
  • Specimen collection for labs

Your CNA certification is essential because it ensures you can complete these duties safely and effectively.

CNA certification will also improve your chances of finding employment. You may get more job opportunities because certified CNAs are in high demand. Moreover, certification may help you earn more money or qualify for incentives like tuition repayment.

Above all else, as a certified CNA, you will enter the workforce with greater confidence. That confidence can lead to higher job satisfaction and faster career advancement.

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CNA Certification Requirements By State (1)

General CNA Certification Requirements

CNA schools differ by state. Still, you should expect to complete the program in four distinct parts: classroom instruction, clinical training, a written exam, and a skills evaluation.

CNA Certification Programs

You can find CNA programs through vocational schools, community colleges, and at some hospitals. There are also online CNA certification programs if you need more flexibility.

Try researching local programs to find one that suits your needs. Whether you select in-person or online school, you must meet some general requirements before starting. Though CNA program requirements vary, you'll typically need to meet the following standards to get in:

  • Be a minimum of 16 to 18 years old
  • Earn a high-school diploma or GED equivalent
  • Be in good physical health
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Be able to lift patients (~35-50 lbs)
  • Complete a written competency test
  • Have up-to-date immunizations
  • Pass a drug screening

Once accepted, you'll complete an approved training program per your state's standards.

Should You Enroll in an Online CNA Certification Program?

While online CNA certification programs seems incredible, we want to clarify their limitations so you can make an informed decision. Some online students report not receiving the same core knowledge as those attending in-person programs. Also, you will still need to complete in-person clinical hours in most online programs.

Classroom Instruction

Most CNA programs take between 4 to 16 weeks to complete. The first part of your CNA training program is classroom instruction. You'll learn about various healthcare topics like:

  • Basic nursing care
  • Anatomy
  • Mental health
  • Infection control
  • Proper body mechanics
  • Personal care and hygiene
  • Workplace safety
  • Patient rights
  • Communication techniques
  • Patient assistance
  • Charting patient vital signs

After completing your classroom instruction, you'll get to flex what you've learned in a clinical setting.

Clinical Training

You will complete the clinical skills portion of your CNA school inside a healthcare setting. You might work at a nursing home, outpatient facility, retirement home, or hospital. Throughout the clinical training portion, you'll complete everyday CNA duties supervised by your instructors.

Conversely, you may stay in your CNA school for your hands-on hours. Some schools have on-site simulation labs dedicated to clinical training. How you complete this portion of your training depends entirely on your chosen program.

CNA Exams

Each state has different standards for CNA exams. However, most have a written exam and a skills evaluation. The written test consists of multiple-choice questions from your classroom materials.

The skills evaluation encompasses everything you learned during clinical rotations or simulation labs. It tests your ability to perform CNA duties safely and effectively.

You will complete your CNA exams at proctored testing sites in most states. Expect written exams to take about 90 minutes and skills evaluations to take about 30-40 minutes.

License & Certification Process

After completing your state-approved CNA training program and passing your exams, you will earn a CNA certification. Remember that this licensure only allows you to practice in your state.

In most cases, you must renew your CNA certification every two years. If you remain employed during that period, recertification might only consist of a form and a fee.

But, if you didn't practice during some or all of those two years, you should expect a more complex recertification process. For example, some states may ask that you pass a competency exam before renewing your license.

Remember that all 50 states in the US have unique requirements. Ensure you understand your state's requirements to maintain your CNA license.

CNA Certification Requirements by State

We researched and organized CNA certification requirements by state to make becoming a CNA easier. Check out these links to learn about your state's CNA requirements.

Alabama CNA Requirements

  • Complete a state-approved CNA training program
  • Pass a competency evaluation program
  • Minimum 75 hours of training with at least:
    • 16 hours of clinical work
    • 16 hours of laboratory experience
  • Pass the nurse aide competency exam
  • Work at least 18 hours every 24 months to maintain certification

Learn more: Alabama Certified Nurse Aide Registry

Alaska CNA Requirements

Learn more: Alaska Nurse Aide Registry

Arizona CNA Requirements

  • Complete a board-approved CNA program
  • Finish at least 120 CNA training hours
  • Take the nursing assistant state exam
  • Obtain an original CNA certificate
  • Submit proof of US legal residency

Learn more: Arizona State Board of Nursing

Arkansas CNA Requirements

Learn more: Arkansas Department of Human Services

California CNA Requirements

Learn more: California Department of Public Health

Colorado CNA Requirements

Learn more: Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies

Connecticut CNA Requirements

  • Attend a state-approved CNA program
  • Complete at least 100 hours of clinical and classroom training
  • Pass the Connecticut nurse aide examination

Learn more: Connecticut State Department of Public Health

Delaware CNA Requirements

Learn more: Delaware State CNA Registry & Training

Florida CNA Requirements

  • Complete a CNA training course and competency exam OR
  • Pass CNA competency exam without program completion

Learn more: Florida Board of Nursing

Georgia CNA Requirements

  • Attend a board-approved CNA training program
  • Take the nurse aide certification exam

Learn more: Georgia Nurse Aide System

Hawaii CNA Requirements

  • Complete an approved CNA training program
  • Pass the Hawaii Nurse Aide Competency Exam

Learn more: Hawaii Nurse Aide Registry

Idaho CNA Requirements

Learn more: Idaho Department of Health & Welfare

Illinois CNA Requirements

  • Complete an Illinois-approved CNA training program
  • Pass a written competency test and a manual skills exam

Learn more: Illinois CNA Facts

Indiana CNA Requirements

  • Attend a state-approved CNA program (105 hours)
  • Achieve at least 80% on a 100-question written test
  • Complete and pass a skills evaluation exam

Learn more: Indiana Department of Health

Iowa CNA Requirements

  • Complete a 75-hour CNA training course
  • Take and pass a written test and skills exam

Learn more: Iowa Direct Care Worker Registry

Kansas CNA Requirements

  • Complete a Kansas CNA training program
  • Achieve at least 90% on the state CNA exam

Learn more: Kansas Health Occupations Credentialing

Kentucky CNA Requirements

  • Complete a state-approved CNA course
  • Take a final written/oral and skills test
  • Complete a CNA competency evaluation

Learn more: Kentucky Nurse Aide Training

Louisiana CNA Requirements

Learn more: Louisiana Department of Health

Maine CNA Requirements

  • Complete 180 of state-approved CNA training to include:
    • 90 hours of classroom theory
    • 20 clinical training hours
    • 70 hours of clinical practice
  • Pass the Maine CNA written/oral and skills competency test

Learn more: Maine Department of Health and Human Services

Maryland CNA Requirements

  • Complete a board-approved 100+ hour CNA program
  • Pass a written/oral and clinical skills competency exam

Learn more: Maryland Board of Nursing

Massachusetts CNA Requirements

Learn more: Massachusetts Nurse Aide Registry Program

Michigan CNA Requirements

  • Complete a state-approved nurse aide training program
  • Take the Michigan written/oral and skills CNA exams

Learn more: Michigan Nurse Aide Registry

Minnesota CNA Requirements

  • Complete a state-approved nursing assistant program
  • Pass a CNA written/oral and skill competency evaluation

Learn more: Minnesota Nursing Assistant Registry

Mississippi CNA Requirements

Learn more: Mississippi State Department of Health

Missouri CNA Requirements

  • Completion of a state-approved CNA training course
  • Pass a written/oral and skills final examination

Learn more: Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services

Montana CNA Requirements

  • Attend a state-approved CNA training program
  • Pass the written and skills CNA examination

Learn more: Montana Nurse Aide Registry

Nebraska CNA Requirements

  • Complete a 75-hour state-approved training OR
  • A 21-hour course for developmentally disabled care at intermediate care facilities
  • Pass the state-approved written/oral exam and skills competency exam

Learn more: Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

Nevada CNA Requirements

  • Complete a Nevada-approved CNA training program
  • Take the state CNA certification exam

Learn more: Nevada State Board of Nursing

New Hampshire CNA Requirements

  • Complete a state-approved CNA training program
  • Pass a CNA competency evaluation examination

Learn more: New Hampshire Office of Professional Licensure and Certification

New Jersey CNA Requirements

Learn more: New Jersey Department of Health

New Mexico CNA Requirements

Learn more: New Mexico Certified Nurse Aide Registry

New York CNA Requirements

Learn more: New York State Nurse Aide Registry

North Carolina CNA Requirements

Learn more: North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services

North Dakota CNA Requirements

Learn more: North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services

Ohio CNA Requirements

  • Attend a state-approved CNA training program
  • Pass the Ohio nurse aide examination

Learn more: Ohio Department of Health

Oklahoma CNA Requirements

Learn more: Oklahoma Career Tech

Oregon CNA Requirements

  • Complete a state-approved nursing assistant training program
  • Pass the written and skills CNA exam

Learn more: Oregon State Board of Nursing

Pennsylvania CNA Requirements

  • Complete a state-approved nurse aide training program
  • Pass the CNA exam within 24 months of program completion

Learn more: Pennsylvania Department of Health

Rhode Island CNA Requirements

Learn more: Rhode Island Department of Health

South Carolina CNA Requirements

Learn more: South Carolina Nurse’s Aid FAQ

South Dakota CNA Requirements

Learn more: South Dakota Department of Health

Tennessee CNA Certification Requirements

  • Attend and pass a state-approved nurse aide training program
  • Pass a state CNA exam within 24 months of program completion

Learn more: Tennessee Department of Health

Texas CNA Requirements

  • Finish a state-approved nurse aide training program
  • Take and pass the nurse aide evaluation

Learn more: Texas Nurse Aide Registry

Utah CNA Requirements

Learn more: Utah Nursing Assistant Registry

Vermont CNA Certification Requirements

  • Attend a state-approved nursing assistant program
  • Submit a certification and verification application
  • Pass the NNAAP examination

Learn more: Vermont Office of Professional Regulation

Virginia CNA Requirements

Learn more: Virginia Department of Health Professions

Washington CNA Requirements

  • Attend a state-approved CNA training course
  • Take the nursing assistant competency exam

Learn more: Washington State Department of Health

Washington DC CNA Requirements

  • Pass an approved CNA training program
  • Complete the Pearson VUE nurse aide exam

Learn more: DC Health

West Virginia CNA Certification Requirements

  • Attend a state-approved training program
  • Pass the nurse aide competency examination

Learn more: West Virginia Office of Health Facility Licensure & Certification

Wisconsin CNA Requirements

Learn more: Wisconsin Department of Health Services

Wyoming CNA Certification Requirements

Learn more: Wyoming Department of Health

FAQs

  • CAN YOU GET A CNA LICENSE ONLINE?

    • No, you cannot get a CNA license entirely online. Some online CNA courses are available for the classroom portion of your CNA training. But, you must have hands-on, in-person experience for your clinical training hours.
  • WHAT IS THE CNA CERTIFICATION EXAM LIKE?

    • Your CNA certification exam will have two parts: a written test and a skills exam. Your written test should include multiple-choice questions from your class materials. The skills evaluation is a hands-on test that measures your ability to perform CNA skills and competencies.
  • WHAT KIND OF TRAINING IS REQUIRED TO BECOME A CNA?

    • To become a CNA, you must pass a state-approved training program. CNA programs often include classroom instruction alongside clinical rotations.
  • HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO COMPLETE CNA TRAINING?

    • Most CNA programs take four to 16 weeks to complete classroom and clinical training.
  • WHAT CNA JOB OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE?

    • As a CNA, you'll provide basic care to patients. You can work in various healthcare facilities like hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers, home health agencies and assisted living facilities.
  • HOW CAN CNAS CONTINUE THEIR EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT?

    • Joining professional organizations like the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA) is a great way to continue your CNA professional development. You can further your credentials by becoming a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or a registered nurse (RN).
CNA Certification Requirements By State (2024)

FAQs

Is the CNA test the same in all states? ›

Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) training & certification requirements vary considerably across the U.S. In some states, the requirements go beyond the federal minimum while in other states requirements are nearly identical to the federal standards. See the table below for a comparison of state and federal CNA requirements.

Is it hard to pass the CNA skills exam? ›

The skills test is not the most challenging exam in the world, but it can be nerve racking to perform these skills in front of an expert.

What disqualifies you from being a CNA in Tennessee? ›

Lifetime disqualification for any violent offense, most sex offenses, any felony or misdemeanor drug offenses, as well as other offenses that present a “threat to the health, safety or welfare” of children. Disqualifying offenses include pending charges and certain juvenile offenses.

How many questions can you get wrong on the CNA exam? ›

Subtract the result from the total number of questions to find the allowable missed questions: 100 – 75 = 25. In this scenario, you can miss up to 25 questions (out of 100) and still achieve a passing score. Remember, this is an example, and the actual numbers may vary based on your state's requirements.

What is the best CNA study guide? ›

The CNA is not easy by any means. It covers a mountain of topics, and without the proper preparation, it's daunting. But Mometrix's comprehensive study guide thoroughly covers every piece of information you need to know, allowing you to grasp what matters.

Can I take the CNA test without classes in Tennessee? ›

certification exam. In order to be certified and on the Tennessee Nurse Aide Registry, an individual must have completed an approved nurse aide training program and sit for the state competency examination within 24 months from completion of the class.

How much do CNAs make in TN? ›

Cna Salary in Tennessee
Annual SalaryHourly Wage
Top Earners$50,372$24
75th Percentile$42,700$21
Average$35,890$17
25th Percentile$30,900$15

Can a felon be a nurse in Tennessee? ›

Tennessee law grants the Tennessee Board of Nursing the power to deny, revoke or suspend a nursing license or certificate or otherwise discipline a nurse if there is proof that the nurse is guilty of a crime.

What state pays CNA the most? ›

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) earn an average annual salary of $32,570, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). With an average annual salary of $43,080, Alaska tops the list of the highest-paying states for CNAs, followed by New York at $42,040 and California at $41,170.

Can I transfer my CNA license to Tennessee? ›

Documentation of classroom and clinical experience will be required. An individual who is currently listed as active with no derogatory or abuse information on another State's list of certified individuals can apply for reciprocity. Tennessee accepts reciprocity from all States except Florida.

What is the lowest paying state for CNA? ›

The lowest paying state was Louisiana, which employed a modest number of CNAs (21,030) and paid an average salary of $24,300 and an hourly wage of $11.68. The second lowest paying state was Mississippi, which paid an average salary of $24,400 and an hourly wage of $11.73 to their nursing assistants.

What is the passing score for the CNA exam in PA? ›

The exam taker must successfully complete all 5 skills for the Skills Evaluation in order to pass the CNA Exam PA. The exam taker is allowed to correct skills within the 30 minute testing period. Additionally, the exam taker must pass the Written Test, of which there is no reported passing score.

Is the Florida CNA exam hard? ›

90 minutes are given for this test. The written exam is not difficult, but it requires time and dedication to study the right material and information. Orlando CNA Kwik Track advises you to schedule time, set up a schedule to study ,removing distractions such as phones and children; being able to focus is essential.

What is the CNA exam in the US? ›

To become a CNA, you will normally need to complete a state-approved training course and pass the state certification exam that includes both a written section, and a hands-on competency skills section.

Can I take the NC CNA exam without going to school? ›

Student must complete the state-approved Nurse Aide I training program. If you did not complete a North Carolina state-approved training but wish to test, you may be eligible for a “training waiver.” Please review the Candidate Handbook or visit the North Carolina website.

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