CNA Certification Requirements

Many professionals in healthcare start their careers in the position of Certified Nursing Assistants/aides (CNAs).

CNAs assist doctors, nurses, and other professionals with patient care.

They are a significant part of the healthcare team, and those who want to become CNAs should receive proper education and license.

Every state has its requirements and guidelines, but generally, students need to meet the following requirements to become a CNA.

Page Navigation

How To Get Certified As a CNA

The requirements vary by state, but generally, aspiring CNAs should complete a state-approved CNA program at an accredited institution before they can get certified.

Approved programs meet the requirements set by the state or other bodies, so students receive the necessary skills and knowledge to become licensed and provide patient care.

After the program is completed, students need to find out the requirements of their state for certification to ensure they met them all.

The requirements include a minimum number of training and clinical hours that students need to complete while in the program.

They also need to apply for the CNA certification, pay appropriate fees, and pass the fingerprint/background check.

Graduates of a CNA program usually need to apply for the certification within a particular timeframe after they finish their program.

CNA Certification Exam

After students have completed the CNA program and submitted all paperwork, they need to take the state CNA certification exam.

The exam includes two parts, the written one and the verbal one which is delivered in a group format and the clinical skill, delivered one-on-one.

The written part of the exam is administered by a third-party test proctor and includes multiple-choice questions on medical terminology, anatomy, and physiology, CNA responsibilities, etc.

The clinical skills part is usually proctored by a practitioner, such as a nurse.

Test-takers will be asked to demonstrate various skills such as measuring and recording pulse, hand-washing, and other skills.

Proctors choose from a list of more than 20 skills.

CNA License & Certification Renewals

CNA certification is valid for 2 years.

After, it can be renewed by submission of a renewal form and fees as long as CNAs were employed during this time.

The specific number of employment hours is determined by the state.

If CNAs don’t meet the renewal requirements, and the certification wasn’t expired for more than 2 years, they can renew it through a competency exam in some states.

If the certification was expired for many years, or for some other reason, CNAs don’t qualify for the renewal, they will have to enroll in a CNA program and apply for the new licensure.

State by State CNA Certification Requirements

Alabama CNA Certification Requirements

  • Graduate of an approved CNA program.
  • Complete a minimum of 75 hours of training, with 16 clinical hours and 16 lab hours.
  • Take and pass the Nurse Aide Competency Exam, administered by Pearson VUE or Prometric.

Alaska CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved CNA program.
  • Complete a minimum of 140 training hours, including at least 60 classroom hours and 80 hours of lab/clinical practice.
  • Apply for Alaska’s Nurse Aide Certification by Examination.
  • Sit for the Nurse Aide Examination through Pearson VUE.

Arizona CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a board-approved CNA program.
  • Complete a minimum of 120 CNA training hours.
  • Pass the state’s written and skills exam.
  • Submit proof of legal residency.

Arkansas CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a state-approved program.
  • Complete a minimum of 90 hours of education/training.
  • Pass the Nursing Assistant Competency Exam.

California CNA Certification Requirements

  • Be at least 16 years of age.
  • Complete an approved CNA training program.
  • Pass criminal record check.
  • Pass the Competency Evaluation Examination.

Colorado CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved CNA training program.
  • Pass the NNAAP examination administered through Pearson VUE.

Connecticut CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a board-approved CNA program (within 24 months of the date of application for certification).
  • Pass the Connecticut Nurse Aide examination administered by Prometric.

Delaware CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a state-approved CNA training program.
  • Pass the CNA Competency Exam through Prometric.

Florida CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved CNA training program (unless the student plans to apply for certification by exam only).
  • Achieve a minimum score on the nursing assistant competency examination.

Georgia CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a board-approved CNA program.
  • Pass the NNAAP exam, administered via Pearson VUE.

Hawaii CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved CNA training program.
  • Pass the Hawaii Nurse Aide Competency Exam administered via Prometric.

Idaho CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved CNA program with a minimum of 120 training hours.
  • Pass the Idaho Nurse Aide Exam via Prometric.

Illinois CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an Illinois-approved CNA training course.
  • Pass the written competency test.

Indiana CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a state-approved 105-hour Nurse Aide Training Program.
  • Pass both the written and skills evaluation exam.

Iowa CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a 75-hour state-approved CNA training program.
  • Pass the written and skills CNA exam.

Kansas CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a 90-hour approved CNA training program.
  • Score 75% or higher on the state CNA examination.

Kentucky CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved CNA program with a minimum of 75 hours (with 16 hours of supervised clinical training).
  • Pass the examination (written/oral and skills).
  • Complete a competency evaluation.

Louisiana CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a state-approved CNA training program.
  • Pass the CNA exam.

Maine CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a state-approved CNA program with 180 hours of training.
  • Pass the CNA competency test.
  • Pass a criminal background check.

Maryland CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a CNA training through a board-approved CNA program of 100 hours.
  • Pass the CNA competency examination (written and practical).

Massachusetts CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a department-approved Nurse Aide Training Program.
  • Pass the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation (knowledge portion can be taken up to 4 times; the clinical portion can be taken up to 3 times).

Michigan CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved training course.
  • Pass the evaluation test through Prometric to obtain a 2-year certificate.

Minnesota CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved nursing assistant program in Minnesota.
  • Pass the competency evaluation exam.
  • Or, be in good standing on the nursing assistant registry in another state with at least 8 hours of work as a CNA in the state in the last 24 months.

Mississippi CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved CNA training program.
  • Pass the NNAAP examination through Pearson VUE.

Missouri CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a state-approved CNA course with 75 hours of classroom training and 100 hours of on-the-job training.
  • Pass the two-part (written/oral and skills) examination.

Montana CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a state-approved CNA training program.
  • Pass the CNA certification examination.

Nebraska CNA Certification Requirements

  • Be at least 16 years of age.
  • Complete a minimum of 75 hours of state-approved training or a 21-hour basic resident-care course for intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled.
  • Complete a one-hour Nebraska-specific abuse/neglect/misappropriation training.
  • Pass the Nebraska-approved written/oral exam and skills competency exam.

Nevada CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved CNA training program.
  • Pass the CNA certification exam of the state.

New Hampshire CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved training program.
  • Pass the CNA competency evaluation exam.

New Jersey CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved nurse assistant training program to include classroom learning and clinical training.
  • Pass the CNA certification exam.

New Mexico CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved CNA training program.
  • Pass the competency exam administered by Prometric.

New York CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved training program.
  • Pass the nurse aide exams administered through Prometric.

North Carolina CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved nurse aide training program (75+ hours).
  • Pass the approved competency evaluation administered through Pearson VUE.

North Dakota CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved Certified Nurse Aide program.
  • Pass the CNA competency evaluation.

Ohio CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved nurse aide training program.
  • Pass the state CNA examination.

Oklahoma CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved Nurse Aide training program.
  • Pass the competency examination.

Oregon CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a State Board of Nursing-approved nursing assistant program.
  • Pass a criminal background check.
  • Pass the CNA exam through Headmaster Testing Service.

Pennsylvania CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved nurse aide training program.
  • Pass the competency evaluation exam by Credentia during 24 months after program completion.

Rhode Island CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved CNA program with 120 hours of training.
  • Apply for a license.
  • Pass the CNA competency examination.

South Carolina CNA Certification Requirements

  • Completion of an approved CNA training program.
  • Pass the SC Nurse Aide exam administered through Pearson VUE.

South Dakota CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a training program approved by the SD Board of Nursing.
  • Pass the competency exam.
  • Be a minimum of 16 years of age.

Tennessee CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved training program.
  • Pass the state competency examination within 24 months after completing the program.

Texas CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved nurse aide training and competency evaluation program.
  • Pass the examination.
  • Or, qualify to be placed on the Texas Nurse Aide Registry through waiver or reciprocity.

Utah CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved CNA training program.
  • Pass the CNA competency examination.

Vermont CNA Certification Requirements

  • Verify that you have completed an approved nursing assistant program.
  • Once the application and verification have been received, applicants must pass the NNAAP examination.

Virginia CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved nurse aide training program.
  • Pass the Nurse Aide written/oral skills examination and skills evaluation.

Washington CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete a minimum of 85 hours of training through an approved program.
  • Pass the competency exam.

Washington DC CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved training program with 45 hours of classroom instruction, 30 hours of clinical labs, and 45 hours of nursing home hours.
  • Pass the nurse aide examination via Pearson VUE.

West Virginia CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved training program.
  • Pass the nurse aide competency examination.

Wisconsin CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved nurse aide training program.
  • Passing the competency evaluation.

Wyoming CNA Certification Requirements

  • Complete an approved CNA training program.
  • Submit an application and fingerprint cards to the Wyoming State Board of Nursing.
  • Pass the CNA skills exam via Prometric.
Find a Program