Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant in 8 Steps


Research the profession

Start by researching the nursing assistant profession to understand the job responsibilities, requirements, and work environment. This will help you determine if this career path aligns with your interests, skills, and goals.


Complete high school or obtain a GED

Most nursing assistant programs require a high school diploma or GED as a prerequisite. Completing high school or obtaining a GED will provide you with the necessary foundation to pursue a career as a nursing assistant.


Enroll in a state-approved nursing assistant training program

Look for a state-approved nursing assistant training program, which may be offered by community colleges, vocational schools, nursing homes, or healthcare organizations. These programs typically consist of classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience, covering topics such as basic nursing skills, anatomy and physiology, infection control, and patient care.


Complete the training program

Successfully complete the nursing assistant training program by attending all classes, participating in clinical practice, and meeting any other program requirements.


Pass the state competency exam

After completing the training program, you will need to pass a state-administered competency exam to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). The exam typically consists of a written or oral portion and a practical skills assessment.


Apply for state certification

Once you pass the competency exam, apply for state certification or registration as a nursing assistant. This process may involve submitting an application, providing proof of your training and exam results, and undergoing a background check.


Gain Experience

Start working as a nursing assistant in various healthcare settings, such as hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, or home health agencies. Gaining experience will help you develop your skills, learn from experienced professionals, and build your professional network.


Consider additional certifications or education

To advance your career, consider pursuing additional certifications or education, such as becoming a Certified Medication Assistant (CMA), Home Health Aide (HHA), Patient Care Technician (PCT), or Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA). These additional certifications can help you specialize in specific areas of care and increase your job opportunities.

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