How to Become a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant)

A CNA or Certified Nursing Assistant is essential member of the health care team that aim to provide individualized nursing care in large institutions, such as hospitals, private nursing homes, or private offices.

To become a CNA is a privilege and is something to be proud. CNAs positively can impact another individual’s life through simple assistance with activities of daily living, such as grooming and eating. People, most especially those in vital need of help, appreciate CNAs who carry a pure heart and a strong motive to serve and improve people’s quality of life.

Wish to become a CNA?

Here are some of the simple steps to follow:

Know your area
An aspiring individual needs to know the location of specific establishments or institutions offering accredited classes and trainings to become a CNA. Several colleges and medical facilities in the community exist where an individual can inquire about the requirements and the process to undergo a CNA program. Most of the states have their own Red Cross branch to provide courses for those aspiring CNAs.

Know the requirements
After knowing your area and identifying the facilities where you can take accredited courses, you need to determine if you are eligible to enroll in the program.

Most hospital institutions and nursing homes require the following:

  • High school diploma or general education degree (GED)
  • US citizenship and the right to work
  • English skills (e.g., read, write, and speak)
  • Ability to lift 40 pounds
  • Criminal background check
  • Tuberculosis examination
  • A true desire to help

Enroll in a training program.
After understanding the required information needed to become a CNA, you can begin to take a step forward and enroll in a training program.

But make sure you are physically and mentally prepared.

  • There are variations in the length
    of time required to finish a specific CNA program, ranging from six (6) weeks to five (5) months. An individual must be mentally prepared and bear a
    time commitment because regular class attendance is mandatory.
  • Physically equipped
    is a necessity because CNA programs are divided into class and clinical (hands-on sessions). An individual might consider volunteering in a hospital institution or a nursing home to gain an edge as an applicant. In addition to this, volunteering in a hospital can give the individual an idea of the work experience in the future. CNA programs, similar to other educational programs, are competitive. As a result, individuals wishing to become a CNA must be competitive as well.

Go and get certified.
After accomplishing the requirements you can embark on the journey to file for your certification. In most cases, organizations offering accredited training programs manage the legal process for you.

  • A certification exam must be taken
    If it is not included in the training program, you need to inquire about test scheduling and where you take the exam. An aspiring CNA candidate does not need to worry too much about passing as long as the candidate is successful during the curriculum. The questions asked on the examination are based on the classes and training sessions attended. Regularly attendance to classes and practice is crucial.


    *Students must take note that CNA examination varies from state to state and the CNA certification will only be valid in the state where the test
    is passed. *

  • Background check needs complete
    Individuals must also file their fingerprints for government or institutional basis. Though the background check may be a nuisance, but it is necessary to keep the health care industry safe. It is used to check for criminal background, and if needed, in the case of criminal investigations. Individual organizations additionally may check for history of domestic violence, drunk driving, misdemeanors, and various citations.

Common Questions about Becoming a CNA

Q. Is financing available? What alternatives do I have?

A. Financial aid is available. Grants are awarded to students after assessing financial needs and situations. When offered a grant you do not need to repay it. Loans are available for borrowing. Remember a loan is not free. Work-study plans allow you to work and learn through work. Working part-time can assist with the cost of training. Other alternatives include the following:

Accredited retirement centers, nursing homes, and hospitals may train a new hire if an agreement is made for continued employment after certification. The agreement is usually set for a specific period (e.g., one to two years). This contract is beneficial to both the institution and the participants.

Your local community college may offer an array of health care classes. The CNA class may be a nominal fee. The fee often can be waived depending on your income and circumstances.

Starting CNA training through high school has its advantages. Students who take CNA classes in high school have the opportunity to work right out of high school.

Q. What is the fastest means to become a CNA?

A. A 2012 survey reveals more than 6.7 million Americans are taking online classes. The quickest way finish CNA classes is by enrolling in an accelerated online training program where the individual determines study pace. Students can complete the necessary training at the soonest possible time. If an individual chooses to enroll in an online class the length of time is fast-tracked. Enrolling in either full-time or part-time classes will also change the duration of the program. Taking classes on online is convenient allowing the student to choose from either taking a morning or an evening class, or whenever the class fits his or her schedule.

Q. Will I have a temporary certification?

A. Once you pass your exam you will be provided with a temporary certification until you are listed with the state licensing board. The certification is for a limited amount of time. Most states will require you to pay a renewal fee annually. Renewal fee is a smaller amount than the initial fee. Online renewals are possible.

The convenience of becoming a CNA is one of the top reasons to sign up for courses. You can finish a program and become an experienced professional in just a short period of time. Very little professions are as emotionally rewarding as CNAs. Helping people convalesce takes a good mind and soul.