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Candidates who wish to be certified as a Nursing Assistant need to meet specific CNA certification requirements. The first, and most basic CNA requirement, is to have graduated high school or received a GED or high school equivalent. With regard to CNA certification program admittance, all applicants need to have a diploma or equivalent from high school. Beyond that, there are not many pre-requisites to most CNA certification programs.

Some programs may have you pass a background check and medical exam prior to enrolling, as it is one of the CNA certification requirements as well. Once, you have completed high school, or some equivalent, you can then enroll in a CNA certification course. This is the first requirement for certification as a CNA, a candidate needs to complete course work from an accredited school or program. These CNA classes can often be found at local community or technical colleges. The CNA programs can also be found at some hospitals or even at your local Red Cross. The course requirements for CNA certification can also be met through online classes.

Requirements for CNA Certification

CNA class requirements typically take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks. Some people may take longer or shorter depending on the program. Check with your state nursing board to find out the minimum amount of course hours required meeting the certification standards of your state. During this course work you will be trained in many areas. Some of the areas that will be covered are medical terminology, anatomy, physiology, pharmaceutical basics, and patient care basics. This is the theoretical knowledge learning of the CNA class requirements, and one portion of the CNA exam requirements will test the knowledge learned during the course work.

The next CNA certification requirement is the clinical hours, otherwise known as an externship. Each state required CNA certification applicants to complete a requisite number of hours in a medical setting, such as a hospital or nursing home. Typically the requirement is around 16 clinical hours. These clinical hours will be done under the observation and supervision of a registered nurse. The registered nurse who is put in charge of your clinical hours will assist in training you in your hands-on experience. CNA candidates during this time will be putting to use the theoretical knowledge that was learned during the course work. Much of the CNA class requirements are to practice direct patient care in a medical setting. CNA candidates are trained in how to take patient vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature, pulse and heart rate. They are also trained in how to care for the physical needs of patients who can’t perform daily tasks such as feeding, clothing, bathing, and moving. Another area of training is the administering of medication and the proper documentation of such. Documentation is an important part of a CNA’s job, as is communicating with nurses about what is observed of patients. CNA’s are the eyes and ears of the medical world.

CNA Exam Requirements

Following the CNA externship, the next certification requirement is to pass both parts of the CNA state exam. This 2 part exam will test the knowledge learned during classes, and also the skills acquired during your clinical hours. The first part of the test is a multiple choice test, which checks your head knowledge of material learned throughout your CNA classes. The second part of the test is the practical test, this is where an examiner will test your ability to perform certain skills required in a CNA position. Skills such as medication administration procedures, taking temperature, or taking blood pressure will be tested during the practical portion of the exam. Once you have passed both exams you will have met this particular requirement for CNA certification.

After the course work is done, clinical hours are complete and both tests are passed you can gather everything to apply for certification as a CNA. Certification requirements mandate medical exams to ensure that you are physically able to perform the requirements of a CNA. The job as a CNA can be taxing on the body as you care for patients. This is why it is necessary to have a record of a physical exam for each CNA candidate.

Another simple requirement in order to apply for CNA certification is a TB test. TB tests can be done at your local Dr.’s office, or even a walk-in clinic. A TB test is to check to see if you have been exposed to or have tuberculosis. The test is a matter of having a small injection in your arm. The injection site will need to be checked within 2 days to see if your body reacted to the injection. The test results will be recorded and need to be submitted with your application as one of the certification requirements of a CNA.

Besides the medical tests that need to acquired, you will also need to be fingerprinted and have a background check. These are also requirements before CNA certification can be acquired. Fingerprints need to be on record and on file for many legal purposes. One of the main reasons is that as a caretaker of the sick and elderly, you need to be trustworthy and accountable for actions. This is the same reason a background check is required.

There will be an application to fill out, and all of the required components need to be included when you send in your application.

To make it easier, the following list shows the CNA education requirements in order of what needs to be done and submitted for your CNA certification.

CNA Education Requirements

  • High School Diploma or GED
  • CNA classes completed
  • Clinical hours completed
  • Practical exam passed
  • Theoretical exam passed
  • Record of physical (medical check-up) obtained
  • TB test
  • Fingerprinting on file
  • Background check done
  • CNA license application filled out

These are the basic CNA certification requirements. These steps may seem overwhelming at first, but many people are able to complete them quickly and apply for their CNA license just months after starting their CNA classes. The CNA certification procedure was constructed to get you through and into the work force as quickly as possible. At this time there is great level of need for more CNA’s throughout our country and this demand is predicted to continue into the future. This is part of the reason why it is a great time to begin CNA classes and study to get your CNA certification. There may be a shortage of jobs in other fields and industries at this time, but not in the medical field for a CNA. See our practical How to Become a CNA guide for more information on the steps towards certification.

CNA Job Requirements

Once certification is acquired it is a simple matter of applying to medical centers for a job. Most CNA job requirements are simply met with a valid CNA license for your state. Many of the job openings for CNA’s are in the Nursing Home setting since the geriatric population of our country is on the rise. There are also openings in some hospital settings across the country. Another area to look for employment is through home care agencies, and adult day-care centers. All of these types of venues employ and depend on the work of qualified CNA’s for the care of their patients. CNA’s are quickly becoming the backbone of many medical environments; they are depended upon by nurses, doctors and patients alike. It is an exciting field, one that is quick paced and rewarding. If you think you are interested in this career you are on track to having a great medical profession.