Training requirements for certified nursing assistants vary by state. The bare minimum is passing the state certification exam. To qualify for credit to challenge this test, candidates are required to complete a minimum number of hours of training at a state-approved nurse education program. This training provides classroom instruction on basic nursing principles and practical experience in a clinical setting to provide hands-on experience with direct patient care.
To enroll in a CNA training program, you must be at least 16 years old. It is not always required to have your high school diploma, but most training programs will require some sort of high school credential like the GED. If the program is more flexible, it will still require each applicant to pass a series of placement tests. These tests will cover basic math and reading skills to verify that each student is capable of learning the concepts they will need for their job as a certified nursing assistant.
Each training program provides at least 75 hours of instruction and at most 150 hours of instruction. These hours are split between classroom instruction and supervised clinical rotations. Some states require more emphasis on the clinical aspect of training and other states require more emphasis on classroom learning. Training programs can be completed in three to eight weeks, depending on the class format and the number of meetings per week.
At then end of training, candidates must register to take the state certification exam. Most programs are approved to provide the test on-site, but it may be necessary to visit a local testing center. After you pass the exam and successfully register your certificate with the state, you can be employed as a CNA for two years. Certification must be renewed before it expires or else training must be repeated from the start.