7 Steps to Earn Your CNA Certification

If you want to work as a certified nursing assistant in any of the 50 states and Washington D.C., you will be required to earn your CNA certification.

The process of becoming certified a nursing assistant is pretty straight forward and not that difficult to follow. In this article, we will be going over the various steps necessary so that you too can earn your nursing assistant certification.

Why is a CNA Certification is a Good Idea?

Getting your Certified Nursing Assistant certification is a necessary part of the process of becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant.

Currently there is a strong demand for certified nursing assistants with a projected growth of over 300,000 jobs over the next ten years according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

At the moment, a Certified Nursing Assistant ranks as one of the top paid positions that require less than a two-year degree.

A career in nurse assisting often leads in to other healthcare careers such as Licensed Practical/Vocational Nursing or Registered Nursing.

CNA to LPN programs are the strongest opportunity of natural progression for Nursing Assistants. A CNA also has similarities to the home health aide in scope and practice.

The 7 Steps to Earn a Certified Nursing Assistant Certification

Becoming a CNA can be a very lasting and meaningful career choice. You will be working in one of the fastest growing sectors in healthcare by helping the sick and elderly.

However, before you can jump in to this career you will first need to earn your CNA certification. Let’s look at the steps involved so that you too can become a CNA.

1 – Enroll in a Program to Train for a CNA Certificate

The first step you will take is to enroll in a CNA training program. You can find these classes fairly easy at most community colleges and vocational schools. There are also some great online CNA programs to choose from too.

You will need to make sure that the program you have picked has been approved by your state’s Board of Nursing or accredited by a national organization such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (formally the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission) or the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.

2 – Pass Your Program for Eligibility for a Certified Nursing Assistant Certificate

CNA certificationYou will need to successfully pass all of your CNA training classes, preferably with good grades. CNA classes are composed of both a classroom and hands-on laboratory.

You will need to get a good grasp of not only the duties in a nursing assistant’s job, but also have a firm understanding how it is done correctly.

3 – Fulfill all Requirements for Nursing Assistant Certification

Depending on the specific requirements of your state, you will need to accrue a number of hours practicing and working in a healthcare environment such as a nursing home or hospital.

This will not only give you more practice to improve your skills but also give you much needed experience to better understand the job at hand.

4 – Sign up for Your Certification Test

The next step involves signing up for the CNA certification exam. You will need to provide proof that you have you passed your training classes and set up an appointment to take the exam.

The certification exam may only be held a few times a year so make sure you plan accordingly.

It is also a smart move to be as organized as you can be during this phase because any delay is just holding you back from your end goal of earning a certified nursing assistant license.

5 – Study and Practice for the Test

Study and Practice!

Keep improving on your skills as well as studying your course material. You can practice taking vital signs from friends and families. Buy a study guide and take practice tests. Do everything you can to be confident and ready to take your exam.

Be sure to double check your state regulations and guidelines with your state board of nursing before you start studying to make sure you focus on the exact material necessary for success on your CNA license examination!

6 – Take and Pass Your Exam to Earn the Nurse Assistant Certification!

CNA LicenseTake and pass the CNA certification examination. There are two parts to the exam; a written and a skills demonstration.

You will need to pass both parts of the examination before you can become certified. You can read more about the certification exam on this page and in our guide to passing the CNA test.

7 – Get Listed in Nursing Aide Registry

Once you pass the CNA certification exam, you will now need to get your name listed on your state’s Nurse’s Aide Registry.

Not only is this registration required in most states, you will find that a growing number of prospective employers demand it before considering you for hiring.

Details About Maintaining your CNA Certification

Generally, your certification status must be renewed every two (2) years. While every state has slightly different requirements needed keep your certification valid.

Most likely you will need to work a certain number of hours over the previous two years as a CNA or fulfill a few continuing education (CE) credits. You should contact your state Board of Nursing for a full list of all the requirements you will need to meet in order to keep your CNA certification valid.

The responsibility is on you the individual Nursing Assistant to maintain your certification as a CNA or any other certification you may earn over time. This only becomes more important as you progress in your healthcare career.

The more your are trained the more you will be expected to maintain at a licensing and certification level. Most licenses are two years so you can routinely expect to be biannually re-certify for the duration of your time working as a Certified Nursing Assistant.