What Are the Qualifications to Receive Your CNA License?
- The first step to becoming a CNA is to enroll in a certified nursing assistant program as an accredited school. This program can typically be completed in six months or less and includes a combination or classroom training and clinical practice. A minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent is required for admission. Generally, the training program must include a minimum of 120 hours of instruction of which at least 40 hours involve providing hands-on patient care.
- As part of the licensing application process, candidates must submit transcripts to confirm completion of the accredited training program and must also consent to a criminal background check. Criminal convictions are reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine if they will disqualify a candidate from being eligible to continue with the licensing process.
- Other licensing eligibility requirements include being a minimum of 18 years old and proficiency in written and spoken English. In addition, any candidates who have been found guilty of abuse or neglect on the CNA registry will be ineligible for a license. The application must be completed in its entirety and the exam registration fee must be paid in full prior to sitting for the CNA licensing exam.
- Upon successful completion of an accredited CNA training program, students are eligible to take the CNA competency evaluation exam. Because eligibility requirements vary by state, students should contact their state's board of nursing registry to verify licensing requirements have been fulfilled. Exam content includes topics such as medical ethics, vital signs, hygiene, disease control and nutrition. Applicants with passing scores typically receive their license via mail within eight weeks, and the initial licensure period is two years.