How to Become a Certified Nursing Assistant

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a specialist who collaborates in a healthcare setting under the guidance of an LPN or a Registered Nurse. Usually, the CNA’s duty is to help people with basic things like bathing, dressing, eating, among other simple things. CNAs also work in places like private homes for people who need extra care, rehabilitation centers that deal with physical therapy, assisted living homes, among others. If your passion is working in a healthcare setting, you could start with becoming a CNA before upgrading to An RN or LPN. However, what does it take to be a CNA? Here are the requirements.

Unlike other professionals who must have a college degree, a CNA doesn’t require holding a degree. Nevertheless, proper training in this field is vital. The credentials of a CNA are provided by the state, meaning that requirements can be different. So, as the specialist, you require enrolling in a state-approved program and pass all the tests.

Education Requirements

Becoming a CNA requires you to have a high school diploma, GED, and training in nursing assistant. These training programs are available in medical centers, trade schools, and community colleges. Other places that offer such programs include Red Cross and vocational schools. Therefore, if you are going for a CNA job interview, you will be required to provide proof that you have gone through training.

After completing the training, you must also pass the certification exam. This exam contains both practical and theoretical parts. You must take the clinical skills exam to demonstrate your competence in the field. In the clinic skills testing, some students can volunteer to be patients and you, the candidate, demonstrates the skills you have gathered throughout your training. Some practical basics may include:

  • Following protocols set for infection controlling
  • Bathing a patient
  • Transferring a patient from a wheelchair to their bed, among others.

In a computerized or theory part, you need to explain different things like;

  • Safety measures to include when handling a patient
  • Handling emergencies
  • Patient behavior management
  • Reporting procedures suing abbreviations
  • Patient observational skills

Remember that these are the same skills you require demonstrating to get the nursing assistant job. Students who pass can start working as CNAs immediately. Those that fail must wait for a specific period before retaking the exam. Some states require you to possess additional skills in order to become a CNA. For instance, you must enroll in an ongoing course and continue studying. You may also require passing the criminal background check. In another state, a CNA requires taking more coursework to become a CMA (Certified Medical Assistant). With the certificate, you are eligible to dispense medicines to patients. So, you must confirm your state requirements to confirm you meet them all.


CNAs are in one of the most lucrative fields. Apart from the high demand and good salary, becoming a CNA provides you a chance of helping those in need. You don’t necessarily require having a degree to be a CNA. All you require is a high school diploma and other necessary certificates. You also need nursing assistant training in order to be eligible.

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