CNA Requirements

You must meet the CNA requirements before you can get a job as a Certified Nursing Assistant. This article looks at what those requirements are.


CNA RequirementsA Certified Nursing Assistant or CNA aids nurses in hospitals, nursing homes and even clinics. The CNA helps keep the nurse on track by performing some of the duties so the nurse can go on and see other patients.

CNA certification training provides you with the skills and knowledge you need to perform the duties of a CNA.

With a CNA training program, in just two to four months you can not only be ready to take the certification exam but also have the practical experience ready for your first job as a CNA.

There is a basic three step process to meet the CNA requirements:

  1. Complete an accredited CNA training program.
  2. Earn a state certification by passing a nationally recognsied exam.
  3. Get a listing in your state’s nurse aid registry.

CNA Requirements

To become a CNA, you must first make sure you meet the licensing requirements. These can vary from state to state but the basic minimum requirements are:


The minimum age to apply for a license varies between states but is between 16 and 18 years. Even in states where you can get a license at the age of 16, some employers may not hire you until you are 18.


In most states you need to have finished high school and got your diploma or completed your GED. In states where the minimum age requirement is 16, you need to have completed 8 years of grade school.


You will need to have a clean background to become a CNA because you will be screened for criminal convictions, drug abuse, mental health problems and other medical issues that may impair your ability to perform the duties required of a CNA.

You may be able to get a CNA license with some minor violations on your record but you still may not be able to actually get work in some medical settings because of them.

Accredited Training Program

If you meet the basic licensing requirements above, the first step in becoming a CNA is to complete an accredited training program. This is a core CNA requirement and without completing an accredited program you won’t be able to work as a CNA.

There are many schools offering the programs and usually you can complete the program in just two to four months. The program consists of coursework, clinical experience and lab studies. During your classes you will practice with real patients in clinical rotations.

You will study many different areas of health so you will be prepared for your rotations. You need to be aware of proper body mechanics so you don’t hurt yourself. You need to know about anatomy and physiology so you understand the basics of humans and their life source.

Infection control is another big area so you don’t infect other patients. You will also learn about nutrition, client rights, medical terminology, blood testing, safety and dementia. This forms a solid base so you can interact with doctors, nurses and patients safely and effectively.

The State Exam

After you complete the training course you have to pass the state written exam. This makes sure you have learned the basic still set.

Registry Listing

After passing the state certification exam you need to get listed on the state’s nurse aid registry. This is free of charge and is done by submitting an application to be placed on the registry. The application form is usually one or two pages and will ask you for personal information such as your name, address, social security number, height, weight, etc. It will also ask if you have a criminal record and if you have had any actions taken against you by a health related licensing or disciplinary body.

In addition, it will ask about your CNA training, for example where you took it and when you completed it. You will need to provide proof you have completed the training and passed the exam.

After this you have met the CNA requirements and you can go get a job, as long as you obtained 75 hours of state-approved training through your school. Some CNAs go out and do some additional clinical hours if they did not make a full 75 hours during their coursework.

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