When you study to become a CNA, you could spend anywhere from three weeks to six months in CNA training, depending on the program you choose. Afterward, however, you’ll have the opportunity to sit for the CNA licensing test. If you pass, you will have your certification and will be able to be an actual nursing assistant in an assisted living facility, nursing home, or even a daycare center. The choice of health care options is up to you, but they only become available to you once you finish the CNA training course and exam.
This means you first have to qualify for the course itself.
While many people think that becoming a CNA is easy, there are many requirements that stand between you and the formal training you need.
Formal Requirements for CNA Training
- You must be at least 18 years old in most states to qualify for CNA training. However, in some states, you may take a class when you are only 16 years old, providing you pass reading and math competency exams. You cannot begin working as a CNA, though, until you are 18 years of age.
- You must be competent enough to be a CNA. This requirement comes in when you finish your accredited CNA training course and have completed the clinical hours mandated by federal law and your state. Once this is complete, you must be competent enough to pass the official exam so you can prove you learned what you needed to during the class.
- You must have an education. While some CNA training classes may be willing to overlook a high school diploma or GED, you must still be able to pass competency tests in math and reading before being allowed to take the course.
- You may be asked to provide transcripts of your high school or college curriculum to the licensing personnel.
- Every CNA training student must complete a background check before they can take a course in CNA training. This often means submitting your fingerprints to the licensing authority. Your fingerprints will be run against a database to ensure you have no past criminal or drug history. Having a clear record is essential for becoming a CNA.
- With that clear record, you must also be able to prove that you have in no way during the past been associated with any type of abuse or neglect. If you have, you will not be able to become a CNA.
- English proficiency is also an important part of becoming a CNA. Many CNA training programs are instructed by English-speaking teachers and many of the patients you come into contact with after CNA training will speak English as well. You don’t have to be extremely proficient in this area, but you should understand and speak reasonable English before you apply for the class.
State Requirements for CNA Training
Keep in mind that other requirements may be set forth by your state. It’s important to make sure you understand all of these requirements before beginning CNA training.