Get Certified as a CNA: State by State Requirements

Certified nursing assistants are vital to the healthcare system. Learn how to earn a CNA certification in your state.

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by Emily Gillespie-Lord

Published August 25, 2022

Reviewed by Brandy Gleason, MSN, MHA, BC-NC

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Get Certified as a CNA: State by State Requirements
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A certified nursing assistant (CNA) works under the supervision of a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN). Many states allow CNA students to complete training programs at medical facilities or educational institutions.

Some CNAs enroll in a nursing program and work as LPNs or RNs. All assistant certificate programs must follow the standards set in the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP). Find out more about CNA certification and requirements by state.

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Why Do You Need a CNA Certification?

The Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 created new rules for standards of care in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. As a result, all nursing assistants must earn certification through an approved training program. Some states allow online CNA certification.

Nurse assistant certification improves patient safety and gives you the tools to provide effective care. CNAs are directly involved in patient care, and each state limits what medical procedures they can perform and assist on.

You do not need a degree to become a CNA. Nursing assistant certification programs are offered at community colleges, trade schools, and approved medical facilities that offer nursing assistant certification programs.

CNA Certification Requirements by State

Alabama CNA Certification

A degree is not necessary to become a CNA in Alabama. Though you must complete a state-approved nurse aide training program and obtain your CNA. The program you choose must be accredited to take the Nurse Aide Competency Exam. Most employers will require a background check.

Education and Examination

A typical nursing assistant program in Alabama includes 75 hours of training in both clinical and classroom settings.

After training, you have 24 months and three attempts to pass the CNA exam. After three attempts, if you still cannot pass, you are then required to retrain in your nursing assistant program. The fee for the exam is $115, offered through Prometric.

Certification Renewal

Alabama has no renewal process for CNAs. Certification remains active as long as you hold a paying job in a hospital or care facility within the last 24 months. If your certification does expire, you will need to retrain and retest to become certified again.

Alaska CNA Certification

A degree is not necessary to become a CNA in Alaska. You need to complete a state-approved CNA program; programs in other states, Canada, or other countries may also qualify. After completing a qualified program, you are required to pass the NNAAP examination administered by Credentia. Certifications are handled through the Alaska Board of Nursing.

Education and Examination

If you hold a current CNA certification from another state, Canada, or other countries, you can take the exam in Alaska. The state also considers a candidate's military medic experience. Otherwise, you need to complete an approved CNA program with a minimum of 140 combined hours in both a classroom and clinical setting. The examination, fingerprinting, and certificate fees cost $330.

Certification Renewal

You must renew your certification every two years and complete a minimum of 12 or 24 continuing education units depending on the date your certification was originally issued. If you renew yearly, the cost is $50. If you renew every two years, the cost is $100.

Arkansas CNA Certification

You must complete a state-approved training program that includes the objectives outlined in the Arkansas LTCF Nursing Assistant Training Curriculum. These programs are designed for CNAs who work in long-term care. You must pass the Arkansas Nurse Aide Competency Exam by TestMaster Universe.

Certifications are handled by the Arkansas Department of Human Services.

Education and Examination

To earn a nurse assistant certification in Arkansas, you must complete a minimum of 90 hours of combined classroom and clinical training in a state-approved program. Next, you will take a certification exam, which costs $165 in fees. Those with military medic experience may qualify to take the exam without additional education and qualify for waived fees.

Certification Renewal

CNA certification renewal is required every 24 months. You must work at least 8 consecutive hours within those 24 months to be eligible. There is no renewal fee for CNAs and no required continuing education.

Arizona CNA Certification

Arizona offers Licensed Nursing Assistant (LNA) and CNA certifications. Both candidates must complete a state-approved training program, pass the state board exam, and a background check. LNAs pay for their licensing fees while CNAs do not. Certification is managed by the Arizona State Board of Nursing.

Education and Examination

CNA students must complete 120 hours in a state-approved program and pass the Certified Nursing Assistant Examination offered by Headmaster. Unlike LNAs, CNAs do not pay an exam fee.

Certification Renewal

CNAs in Arizona need to work for eight consecutive hours every 24 months for certification renewal. There is no charge for recertification.

California CNA Certification

To become a CNA in California, you must complete a CNA training program approved by the California Department of Public Health. You must also pass a background check and the National Nurse Assistant Training and Assessment Program (NNAAP) at a testing center or online.

Education and Examination

The accredited, state-approved CNA program you choose includes 60 hours of theory and 100 hours of clinical instruction. You can complete these program hours at a school or medical facility. The written and skills test costs $120 to take.

Certification Renewal

You must apply for recertification every two years. Over those two years, you must complete a total of 48 hours of continuing education. The recertification fee for CNAs in California is $20.

Colorado CNA Certification

A degree is not necessary to become a CNA in Colorado. You must complete an accredited, state-approved CNA training program and pass the NNAAP exam. Most employers will perform a background check. The Colorado Board of Nursing handles certifications.

Education and Examination

Colorado has several accelerated CNA programs, some taking as little as four weeks to complete. Some of your training may take place on the job.

You must take the NNAAP exam within 24 months of completing your CNA training program. The exam costs $50 for the written or oral section and $85 for the skills portion.

Certification Renewal

CNAs in Colorado do not need to complete continuing education. CNA certification expires every 24 months. CNAs must work a minimum of eight consecutive hours to qualify for license renewal. CNAs can renew their certification on the Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies website.

Connecticut CNA Certification

After completing an accredited and Connecticut Department of Health-approved CNA training program, you must pass the Connecticut nurse’s aide exam hosted by Prometric. The Connecticut Department of Public Health handles certification.

Education and Examination

CNA program hours vary in Connecticut. The state allows students to complete programs at community colleges, medical centers, or other states.

After completing a training program, you have 24 months to pass the Connecticut CNA exam, which costs $118. Unlike in other states, you can take the exam as often as needed within the 24-month deadline.

Certification Renewal

CNA certification expires on a 24-month cycle. Continuing education is not required, and there are no fees to renew your certification. You must work a minimum of one eight-hour shift within the last 24 months for your certification to remain active.

Delaware CNA Certification

You must complete a training program and pass a competency exam to become a CNA in Delaware. Private CNA programs must be approved by the State of Delaware Department of Education. All programs must be approved by the Division of Health Care Quality.

Education and Examination

You must pass a state-approved CNA training program, including 75 hours of supervised clinical practicum, before becoming certified. No degree is necessary. You must pass a competency exam within 30 days of completing your training. You have only three attempts to pass, or you must repeat the training program. The exam is offered through Prometric and costs $115.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for two years. CNAs must complete 24 hours of continuing education and work a minimum of 64 paid hours per certification period for their licenses to remain active. Renewal costs $25.

Florida CNA Certification

You do not need a degree or to complete a CNA program in Florida. While you must pass the state competency exam, you must be 18 years old, hold a high school diploma or equivalent, and pass a background check. The Florida Board of Nursing manages certifications.

Education and Examination

Florida does not require any education or training for CNAs. If you cannot pass the exam in three attempts, you will be required to attend or repeat a state-approved training program. The exam is offered through Prometric and costs $155.

Certification Renewal

CNAs must renew their licenses every two years. To keep your license active, you must do any amount of paid nursing work and complete 24 hours of in-service training within your two-year certification period. As long as your license remains active, the renewal fee is $55.

Georgia CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Georgia, you need to complete a state-approved program in high school, trade school, or college and pass the state competency exam. CNAs with certifications in other states are also qualified. Most employers will require a background check. Certifications are handled by the Georgia Department of Community Health.

Education and Examination

Accepted CNA programs include a minimum of 85 hours in the classroom and clinical setting.

CNA training is available at some long-term nursing facilities. These programs are not allowed to charge students for their training. Students can complete these programs within four months.

After you finish your training program, you have one year to pass the competency exam offered through Credentia. The exam fee is $112.

Certification Renewal

Certification renewal is required every two years, and there is no fee. You must work a minimum of eight consecutive hours for pay in a nursing role for your certification to remain active and attend at least 12 hours of in-service education. You will need to retake the competency exam if your certification is no longer active.

Hawaii CNA Certification

The Medicaid Agency sets the requirements for nurse aide training programs and the CNA competency exam in Hawaii. You must complete a state-approved CNA program in Hawaii or another state and then pass the competency exam. Most employers will require a background check.

Hawaii’s Professional and Vocational Licensing Division handles CNA certification.

Education and Examination

Programs must include a minimum of 100 hours of training at a state-approved CNA training program, followed by the competency exam. Prometric offers this exam, which costs $200.

Certification Renewal

Certification needs to be renewed every 24 months in Hawaii. To qualify for recertification, you must work a minimum of eight hours during the certification period and complete 24 hours of continuing education. Recertification costs $25.

Idaho CNA Certification

You must pass a state-approved CNA training program, a skills test, and a written competency exam to become certified. No other degree is necessary. Most employers will require a background check. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare handles CNA certifications.

Education and Examination

CNA programs in Idaho include 80 hours of classwork and 40 hours of hands-on training. You must complete training before you can take the competency exam. You have one year to pass the test after completing your training and three attempts to pass.The written exam is hosted through Prometric and costs $29 plus any testing site fees.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for two years as long as you work a minimum of eight paid consecutive hours in nursing within your certification period. There are no fees to renew your certification in Idaho, and continuing education is not required.

Illinois CNA Certification

The Illinois Department of Public Health handles CNA certification and requires background checks for all applicants. You must be at least 16 years old and complete at least an eighth-grade education. Individuals must complete a state-approved CNA training program and pass a competency exam. Those with military medic training or who have finished a nursing arts course are also qualified.

Education and Examination

You must complete a state-approved CNA training program to qualify to take the CNA competency exam. Other avenues include CNA training in other states, military medic training and current nursing students. Your program should include a minimum of 40 supervised clinic hours.

The Southern Illinois University at Carbondale administers the written portion of the CNA exam at several locations throughout the state. The exam fee is $75.

Certification Renewal

CNA certification only expires in Illinois if you fail to work at least one eight-hour shift within 24 months. If you do not work within this period, you will be required to retake the exam for recertification. Continuing education is not required.

Indiana CNA Certification

CNAs must complete a state-approved training program and pass the written and skill competency exams. No degree is necessary. Some student nurses are also eligible, and CNAs with certification in other states. The Indiana Department of Health issues certifications and requires background checks.

Education and Examination

CNA education includes 105 hours in a state-approved training program. You must also pass a written and skills competency exam. Current student nurses and graduates are eligible and do not need to take the skills exam.

The Ivy Tech Community College handles CNA exams in the state with a $75 fee for both the written and skills exam.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for two years. CNAs are required to complete 12 hours of continuing education for every year of certification. You must work a minimum of eight hours per two-year renewal period; private nursing hours do not count. There is no renewal fee.

Iowa CNA Certification

CNAs who work at long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes, must be on the Direct Care Worker Registry. These CNAs must complete a state-approved training program and pass both a written and skills competency exam. Most employers will require background checks.

The Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and Direct Care Worker Registry handle certifications.

Education and Examination

Students must complete a 75-hour, state-approved training program and pass both a written and skills competency exam. Candidates have four months to complete the exam after graduation and only three attempts to pass. Students can take their exams at testing sites available at Community Colleges for Iowa. The exam fee is $115.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for 24 months. To keep your certification current, you must work a minimum of eight hours of paid nursing work within a 24-month certification cycle and complete 12 hours of continuing education per year if you work at a long-term care facility. Your employer will report your hours; there are no renewal fees.

Kansas CNA Certification

CNAs must complete a state-approved training program at either a long-term care facility or an accredited post-secondary school. No degree is necessary. You must also pass a competency exam to become certified and pass a criminal background check.

The Kansas Board of Nursing handles all CNA certifications.

Education and Examination

Approved and accredited programs are 90 hours long with concentrations in basic nursing skills, including classroom and lab settings, followed by supervised patient care training.

After completing a training program, you have one year to pass the competency exam. The testing fee is $20.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for two years as long as you work a minimum of eight paid hours in a nursing role. If your certification lapses, you may take a two-day refresher course or be tested by an RN in an approved facility. There is no fee for recertification, and it is your employer’s responsibility to report your work hours to the state licensing board.

Kentucky CNA Certification

You must finish a CNA training program administered by the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). Current nursing students are also eligible to become CNAs. No degree is necessary. After finishing the training program, you need to pass the CNA competency program and a criminal background check.

The Kentucky Nurse Aide Registry is managed by the Kentucky Board of Nursing.

Education and Examination

CNA programs in Kentucky are one semester long with 16-20 credits These programs cover basic writing, anatomy and physiology, and digital literacy. After completing a program, you must pass the state CNA competency exams. The written and performance test fee is $115.

Certification Renewal

Kentucky certification is valid for two years as long as you work a minimum of eight paid hours in a nursing role within a 24-month period. Your employer is responsible for recording your work hours and providing you with 12 hours of continuing education each year, though you can also submit proof of employment yourself. There is no fee to renew.

Louisiana CNA Certification

A CNA in Louisiana must pass a state-approved training program, the state competency exam, and a criminal background check. No degree is necessary to become a CNA in Louisiana. Most programs are offered at community colleges and approved medical facilities.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals managed all nursing licensing.

Education and Examination

CNAs must be at least 16 years old and complete a minimum of 80 credit hours at a state-approved and accredited program. After completing a program, you must pass the competency exam administered by Prometric for a $125 fee. You have 30 days and three attempts after completing your training to pass the exam.

Certification Renewal

Certification remains active for 24 months. It automatically renews as long as you work a minimum of eight paid hours in a nursing position. Your employer must report your work hours to the Department of Health and Hospitals so you can remain active on the registry. There is no fee for renewal.

Maine CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Maine, you must complete a state-approved and accredited training program and pass the state competency exams. You do not need a degree. Maine also requires background checks, though not all convictions will disqualify you from becoming a CNA.

The Maine Registry of Certified Nursing Assistants and Direct Care Workers manages CNA certification.

Education and Examination

No degree is necessary beyond proof that you have completed the ninth grade. You must complete a 180-credit training program, including basic nursing and facility-specific courses. CNA programs in other states may qualify you to work in Maine.

After completing your program, you must pass the state competency exam in order to be added to the CNA registry.

Certification Renewal

Your certification is valid for 24 months in Maine as long as you work a minimum of eight paid hours in a nursing role within that period. There is no fee for CNA recertification.Your employer is required to provide at least 12 hours of continuing education per year.

Maryland CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Maryland, you must complete a board-approved training program and pass the state competency exam. A degree is not necessary. Some nursing students are eligible to work as CNAs. Certification in other states may qualify as well.

All nursing certifications are determined by the Maryland Board of Nursing. Criminal background checks are required.

Education and Examination

To be a CNA, you must pass a board approved and accredited program that includes a minimum of 100 credit hours and courses on infection control, mobility, and basic nursing. Some student nurses are also eligible to work as CNAs.

The Maryland CNA competency exam offered through Credentia costs $105.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for two years. CNAs must renew their certifications with the state nursing board. Initial certification costs $20, and renewal costs $40. As of 2022, you are required to complete a complicit bias training course for one renewal cycle. Continuing education is not required for CNAs.

Massachusetts CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Massachusetts, you must complete a state-approved program and pass a competency exam. Those who are certified in other states may qualify to work in Massachusetts. No degree is necessary. Many of these programs are offered through community colleges and health care facilities.

The Massachusetts Department of Health and Human Services handles all certifications and licenses.

Education and Examination

All CNA training programs in Massachusetts require a minimum of 75 credit hours in the classroom and a clinical setting. You will learn how to help patients with mobility, use bedpans, and other basic nursing and patient care skills.

You must also pass the CNA competency exam offered through Prometric for a fee of $110.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for two years before renewal. You must work a minimum of eight hours in a paid nursing position within the certification period to remain active. If your certification lapses, you must repeat your training and competency exam.

Continuing education is not a requirement. In June 2022, the state deferred all expirations on all licenses and certifications.

Michigan CNA Certification

To work as a CNA in Michigan, you must complete a state-approved training program and pass the required competency exams. Some certifications in other states are also eligible. No degree is necessary, but the program must be accredited and follow federal guidelines for CNA training.

The Michigan Licensing and Regulatory Affairs department oversees the Nurse Aide Registry.

Education and Examination

Candidates complete a state-approved CNA training program with a minimum of 75 credit hours covering the basics of nursing and patient care. They must also pass the written and skills CNA competency exams. The Michigan CNA exam is offered through Headmaster for a fee of $125. You have 24 months to complete the exam after finishing your training program.

Certification Renewal

Certification renewal is handled online on Headmaster and is valid for 24 months. To keep your certification valid, you must work in a paid nursing position within a certification period, or your name will be removed from the registry. The renewal fee is $20. Continuing education is not required for Michigan CNAs.

Minnesota CNA Certification

Training requirements have returned for CNAs in Minnesota after the state relaxed the rules during the pandemic. While nursing work you completed during that time counts towards your CNA certification, you still need to complete a program at a state-recognized program and pass the competency exams. No degree is necessary.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) oversees the nursing assistant registry and certifications.

Education and Examination

Minnesota State Community and Technical College’s CNA program is 77 credit hours with other programs offered at other institutions and medical centers.

You have three attempts and 24 months to pass the competency exams. If you are unable to pass, you are required to repeat a training program before you can test again. Testing is offered at some training programs and through Headmaster. The fees vary by location.

Certification Renewal

Your certification is valid for 24 months as long as you work a minimum of eight paid hours in a nursing position within a certification period. There are no renewal fees, and you do not have to complete continuing education.

Mississippi CNA Certification

You must complete a state-approved training program and pass a written and skills competency exam. These programs are offered at a community college, trade school, or approved medical facilities. No degree is required. Student nurses and CNAs trained in other states may also be eligible.

The Mississippi State Department of Health handles CNA certification.

Education and Examination

Temporary nurse aides who worked during the pandemic will receive credit for their prior work and training. CNAs are required to complete 75 hours of training in a state-approved program. Along with basic nursing skills, CNA programs teach you how to care for a patient’s basic personal needs.

Mississippi’s CNA exam is offered through Credentia and costs $101.

Certification Renewal

Your certification is valid for 24 months as long as you work a minimum of eight paid CNA hours within that time frame. Continuing education is not required.

If you work in a facility that participates in a Medicaid/medicare program, you are not required to pay for your recertification. Recertification costs $26 through Credentia’s website.

Missouri CNA Certification

CNA programs in Missouri are primarily for those who work in long-term care facilities. No degree is necessary. Completing a state-approved program and passing the competency exam is required for long-term care CNAs. Employers are responsible for background checks.

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services handles all CNA licenses.

Education and Examination

State-approved and accredited programs are 75 classroom hours and 100 hours of hands-on training. To become certified, you must pass both the written and skills tests. Your program will cover topics in basic nursing, fire safety, and Alzheimer’s care. Nursing students are also eligible.

CNA exams are offered at community colleges and some long-term health facilities with varying fees.

Certification Renewal

Your certification needs to be renewed every 24 months for a $24 fee. Continuing education is not required for Missouri CNAs.

Montana CNA Certification

Montana follows federal regulations for CNAs who work in long-term care facilities. No degree is necessary, though you must complete a state-approved training program and pass the written and skills tests. Most employers will require a background check.

The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services regulates nursing licenses and certifications.

Education and Examination

Montana follows federal rules for training programs. Your CNA training must include at least 75 hours, a portion of which may include paid and supervised nursing work. Some current nursing students may also qualify.

The Montana CNA exam is offered through Headmaster with multiple testing locations and a testing fee of $90.

Certification Renewal

Montana CNA certifications are valid for two years and can be renewed up to 90 days before expiration. You must work a minimum of eight paid hours in a CNA position during this time. CNAs are not required to complete continuing education to renew, and there are no fees.

Nebraska CNA Certification

You must be at least 16 years old to work as a CNA in Nebraska, pass a background check, and complete a state-approved training program. To become certified, you must also pass a written and skills competency exam.

The Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services oversees all certifications.

Education and Examination

Approved CNA training programs in Nebraska include 75 hours of training followed by a written exam and a skills test. CNAs have three attempts to pass each test. CNAs certified in other states may be eligible to be certified and work in Nebraska with only one hour of additional training. Some nursing students may also work as CNAs.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for 24 months. You must work in a paid nursing position for 24 months for your certification to remain active. There are no renewal fees for CNAs. Continuing education is not required.

Nevada CNA Certification

Along with completing a state-approved training program at a community college or medical facility, you must also pass the state competency exam. No degree is necessary.

The Nevada State Board of Nursing handles all CNA certifications.

Education and Examination

You must complete a state-approved training program and pass the competency exams. Programs are offered at community colleges, tech schools and medical facilities with a minimum of 75 credit hours according to federal law and instruction in basic nursing and patient care.

The fee for both the written and skills exams is $150. The exam is managed by Headmaster.

Certification Renewal

Nevada certifications are valid for two years before they need to be renewed. Along with completing 24 hours of continuing education, you must also work a minimum of 40 hours as a CNA for your certification to remain active. The CNA renewal fee is $50.

New Hampshire CNA Certification

New Hampshire has Licensed Nursing Assistants (LNA), similar to CNAs. To become an LNA, you must complete a state-approved training program at a community college, trade school, or approved medical facility. Some programs and most employers will require a background check.

The New Hampshire Board of Nursing regulates licenses and certifications.

Education and Examination

According to federal law, nurse aide training must include a minimum of 75 training hours. The LNA program at Manchester Community College consists of 144 credit hours in a combination of lab, classroom, and clinical settings. Students learn skills such as patient care, ethics, and infection control.

You also need to pass the state competency exam. Fees vary depending on the testing location.

Certification Renewal

Licenses are valid for two years. To renew, you must work a minimum of 200 hours as an LNA or complete the written and skills exams, as well as complete 24 hours of continuing education. The fee is $53.

New Jersey CNA Certification

New Jersey only requires you to become certified if you work in a long-term care facility. Hospitals are required to provide training for unlicensed nursing staff. To become a CNA, you must complete a state-approved training program and pass the New Jersey Nurse Aide Exam and pass a background check

The New Jersey Department of Health handles certifications.

Education and Examination

To become a CNA, you must complete the Nurse Aide in Long Term Care Facilities Training and Competency Evaluation Program. Training is 50 hours in a classroom setting and 40 hours in clinical instruction. CNAs with training in other states may also qualify. The CNA competency exam fee is $76.

Certification Renewal

CNA certifications are valid for 24 months in New Jersey. To be eligible for renewal, you must work a minimum of seven hours as a CNA within the certification period and have a clear background check. CNAs are not required to complete continuing education. There is no fee for renewal.

New Mexico CNA Certification

To become a CNA in New Mexico, you must complete a state-approved training program and pass the written and skills competency exam. CNAs who trained in other states and some nursing students are also eligible. Most employers and some training programs require background checks. No degree is required.

The New Mexico Department of Health handles the nursing registry.

Education and Examination

CNA programs must have a minimum of 75 credit hours with at least 16 hours in a clinical setting. Students learn infection control, basic nursing, and patient rights.

The exam is provided by Prometric. If you are hired by a Medicaid-certified facility, the state will pay your exam fee. Otherwise, the fee is $107.

Certification Renewal

Certifications are valid for two years before you need to renew. Renewals are handled by Prometric for a fee of $26.25. Continuing education is not required for CNAs in New Mexico.

New York CNA Certification

Most CNAs in New York become certified by completing a state-approved training program and passing the written and skills competency exams. All CNAs working in long-term care facilities must also pass a background check. CNAs who trained in other states and some nursing students are also eligible.

The New York Department of Health oversees certification through Prometric.

Education and Examination

To become a CNA in New York, you must complete a state-approved training program. Programs must follow federal rules with a minimum of 75 hours of instruction and 16 hours in a clinical setting.

The written and skills test fee is $115 and is managed by Prometric.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for two years as long as you work a minimum of seven paid hours in a nursing position during that time. Your employer is responsible for both recertifying you and paying the fee. Continuing education is not required.

North Carolina CNA Certification

To become a CNA in North Carolina, you need to complete a state-approved training program in or out of state and pass the state competency exam. Some military personnel, nurses, and nursing students are also eligible. Employers will likely require a background check.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services handles all certifications.

Education and Examination

CNA students learn to care for patients, including nutrition, patient safety, post-mortem care, and other nursing basics. CNA programs must meet the federal minimum of 75 training hours. Along with completing a training program, you must pass the written and skills competency exams administered by Credentia. You have three attempts to pass. The testing fee is $140.

Certification Renewal

Certification in North Carolina is valid for two years as long as you work a minimum of eight paid hours in a CNA position within the certification period. Continuing education is not required, and there is no renewal fee.

North Dakota CNA Certification

To become a CNA in North Dakota, you must complete a state-approved training program and pass the state knowledge and skills tests. High schools, community colleges, and approved medical facilities offer CNA training programs. Employers and training programs may require a background check.

The North Dakota Division of Health Facilities is responsible for nursing registration.

Education and Examination

By state and federal law, CNA programs must include a minimum of 75 training hours with 16 hours of classroom instruction, including inpatient rights, infection control, and emergency procedures.

CNAs must pass the state exam administered by Headmaster and other programs. You have six months and three attempts. Fees vary depending on the testing location.

Certification Renewal

Your CNA certification is valid for two years from your initial test date. To keep your certification active, you need to work a minimum of eight paid hours in a nursing position within a certification period. There is no renewal fee and continuing education is not required.

Ohio CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Ohio, you must complete a state-approved training program and pass the state competency exams. Certification is mandated if you hope to work in a long-term care facility.

The Ohio Department of Health manages the state’s Nurse Aide Registry. Training programs or exams do not require candidates to get background checks, but employers do require them.

Education and Examination

Current nursing students and those with military medic training are not required to take a CNA training program before sitting for the competency exam. Training programs must be a minimum of 75 hours of training on patient independence, basic nursing care, and patient rights.

The exam administered through Headmaster costs $104.

Certification Renewal

Your certification is valid for 24 months as long as you work eight paid hours in a nursing position within that time period. Your employer must provide documentation of their current employees for certification renewal; there are no fees. Continuing education is not required.

Oklahoma CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Oklahoma, you must complete a state-approved training program and pass the state competency test. Employers may require a background check.

The Oklahoma State Department of Health handles the nurse aide registry.

Education and Examination

Programs must have 75 hours of training with a minimum of 16 hours of instruction in patient rights, infection control, and emergency procedures. Online programs are not accepted.

After completing training, CNAs must pass the state-administered competency exam. You have three attempts to pass the test. Fees vary depending on the testing location.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for two years in Oklahoma as long as you work a minimum of eight hours in a nursing position. Emailed renewal applications have no fee. Continuing education is not required for CNAs in Oklahoma.

Oregon CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Oregon, you need to complete a state-approved training program and pass the state competency exam. Some nursing students are also eligible. The board of nursing requires background checks for everyone applying for a license or certification.

The Oregon State Board of Nursing manages certifications.

Education and Examination

All CNA programs must include a minimum of 75 hours of instruction in basic nursing and patient care. Training includes basic patient care and nursing skills.

The Oregon CNA program is offered through Headmaster. The exam fee is $106.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for two years if you work a minimum of 400 hours within a certification period. Continuing education is not required for CNAs in Oregon. The renewal fee is $60.

Pennsylvania CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Pennsylvania, you must be at least 16 years of age and complete a state-approved training course. Some nursing students and those with military medic training may be eligible. Background checks are required before beginning a training program.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health manages the nurse aide registry.

Education and Examination

Pennsylvania requires 80 hours of training, 37.5 of which in clinical training. Programs are available at community colleges, trade schools, and approved medical facilities. Students must learn basic nursing and patient care.

After completing a training program, you must pass the state competency exam administered by Credentia. The exam fee is $135.

Certification Renewal

Certification in Pennsylvania is valid for 24 months as long as you work in a paid nursing position during that time. Continuing education is not required for CNAs. There are no renewal fees.

Rhode Island CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Rhode Island, you need to pass a state-approved training program and pass the competency exam. Some nursing students and military medics are also eligible. Background checks are also required.

The Rhode Island Department of Health manages certifications.

Education and Examination

Rhode Island requires CNA training programs to be 120 hours long. These programs follow state and federal rules and cover patient care, safety, and basic nursing.

After completing a training program, CNAs have 120 days to pass the competency exam administered by Credentia for a $165 fee.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for 24 months as long as you work a minimum of eight paid hours as a CNA within that time. The renewal fee is $35, and continuing education is not required.

South Carolina CNA Certification

To become a CNA in South Carolina, you need to either complete a state-approved training program, be a current nursing student or have military medic experience. After meeting one of these requirements, you must pass the state competency exam and a background check.

The South Carolina Bureau of Long Term Care and Behavioral Health Services is in charge of certifications.

Education and Examination

Accredited CNA training programs in South Carolina are 100 hours, 40 of which must include clinical instruction. After completing a training program, you must pass the state competency exam administered by Credentia with a testing fee of $140.

Certification Renewal

You must renew your certification every 24 months through the Credentia portal. To be eligible for renewal, you must work a minimum of eight paid hours as a CNA. Continuing education is not required for CNAs. The renewal fee is $35.

South Dakota CNA Certification

To become a CNA in South Dakota, you must complete a state-approved training program and pass the knowledge and skills competency exam. It is your employer’s responsibility to perform background checks on CNAs.

South Dakota Board of Nursing handles CNA registration.

Education and Examination

CNA training programs in South Dakota are 75 hours long with required topics such as basic nursing skills, mental health, and residents' rights.

The knowledge and skills competency exam is offered at different locations around the state with a fee of $169.50.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for 24 months before you need to renew. To be eligible for renewal, CNAs must complete 12 hours of training each year and work a minimum of 12 hours of paid work in a nursing role. There are no fees with renewal.

Tennessee CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Tennessee, you must complete a state-approved training program and pass the knowledge and skills competency exam within 24 months of completing your program. No degree is required. Current nursing students and military medics may also be eligible.

The Tennessee Department of Health manages certifications.

Education and Examination

State-approved training programs in Tennessee are a minimum of 75 hours with classes on patient safety and care, plus basic nursing.

After completing a state-approved program, you must pass the knowledge and skills competency exam administered by Headmaster with a fee of $98.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for 24 months. To remain on the nurse aide registry, you must work a minimum of eight paid hours in a nursing position during a certification period. Continuing education is not required for CNAs in Tennessee.

Texas CNA Certification

To become a CNA, you must complete a state-approved training program at a community college, trade school, or medical facility. Some nursing students and military medics may also be eligible. A criminal background check is required.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission manages certifications.

Education and Examination

Texas follows the federal regulations; CNA training programs must have a minimum of 75 training hours with at least 16 hours in the classroom learning basic nursing skills, patient safety, and infection control.

The written knowledge and skills exam fee is $125 and is administered by Prometric. You have three attempts to pass.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for 24 months before you need to renew. CNAs are required to complete 24 hours of continuing education every two years to be eligible for certification renewal. There is no renewal fee as long as your certification has not expired.

Utah CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Utah, you must complete a state-approved training program and pass the state knowledge and skills competency exam. Some nursing students and military members may also be eligible. Utah requires background checks for CNAs.

The Utah Nursing Assistant Registry handles certifications.

Education and Examination

Program hours vary. Salt Lake Community College’s CNA program is 150 hours of training. Students learn basic nursing skills, patient care, anatomy, and infection control.

After completing your program, you must take the state competency exam offered at multiple locations in the state. The fee for the knowledge and skills exams is $90.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for two years in Utah. You must work a minimum of 200 paid hours in a nursing position during this time. Continuing education is not required. There is no fee for renewal unless you are late; it is $20.

Vermont CNA Certification

Vermont has LNAs, not CNAs. To become an LNA in Vermont, you must complete a state-approved training program and pass the state competency exam. Some nursing students and those with military medic training are also eligible. Background checks are required for all levels of nursing.

The Vermont Office of Professional Regulation handles licenses.

Education and Examination

While programs vary, the University of Vermont Medical Center LNA program is 172 hours over a period of five weeks. Students learn nursing basics, patient care, and infection prevention.

After completing a training program, you must pass the state competency exam administered by Prometric with a fee of $175.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for two years as long as you work a minimum of 400 hours in a paid nursing position. The renewal fee is $45. Continuing education is not required for LNAs in Vermont.

Virginia CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Virginia, you must complete a state-approved training program and pass the state competency exam. Some nursing students and military medics may also be eligible. No degree is necessary. The board of nursing does not require background checks, but your employer will likely require it.

The Virginia Board of Nursing handles all certifications.

Education and Examination

By federal law, CNA programs must have a minimum of 75 hours of training, including 16 hours of classroom instruction. CNA students learn basic nursing skills, patient care, anatomy, and other important skills.

The fee for the written and skills competency exam is $140.

Certification Renewal

Your certification is valid for two years as long as you work any amount of hours in a paid nursing position. There are no continuing education requirements for CNAs in Virginia. The renewal fee is $30.

Washington CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Washington, you must complete a state-approved program and pass the state competency exam. Some nursing students and those with relevant military experience may qualify. Background checks are required.

The Washington State Department of Health manages certification.

Education and Examination

CNAs in Washington must complete 85 hours of a state-approved training program. These programs teach basic nursing skills, patient care, and best practices.

Next, you must pass the state competency exam administered by Credentia. The fee for the written knowledge and skills exam is $124.

Certification Renewal

CNAs must renew their certifications every year before their birthday. There are no continuing education requirements. Certification renewal has a $95 fee.

Washington D.C. CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Washington D.C., you must complete an approved training program, pass the competency exam, and pass a background check. Some student nurses, and those with relevant military medic experience, may also be qualified.

DC Health manages certifications.

Education and Examination

Washington DC requires CNAs to complete an approved 125-hour training course. Topics taught in these training programs include legal and ethical duties, patient care, science courses, and basic nursing.

You have three attempts to pass the competency exam administered by Credentia. The fee for the written knowledge and skills exam is $165.

Certification Renewal

You will need to renew your certification every other year in October. To renew, you must work a minimum of eight hours of paid work in a nursing role within a 24-month certification period and complete 24 hours of continuing education. The renewal fee is $12.

West Virginia CNA Certification

You must complete a training program and pass the state competency exam. All CNA programs in West Virginia must be approved by the state Office of Health Facility Licensure and Certification (OHFLAC). Some nursing students and those with relevant military experience may also be eligible. Fingerprinted background checks are required.

Licenses and certifications are managed by OHFLAC.

Education and Examination

CNA training programs in West Virginia are designed for nursing assistants in long-term care facilities and follow federal guidelines with a minimum of 75 hours and at least 16 classroom hours on basic nursing skills, ethics, and patient care.

CNAs also must pass the state competency exam. You have three attempts to pass the exam within 24 months after completing your training. Exams fees vary depending on your program and testing site.

Certification Renewal

Certification in West Virginia is valid for two years as long as you work a minimum of eight hours of paid work in a nursing position during that time. Continuing education is not required for CNAs in West Virginia. There are no fees for CNAs.

Wisconsin CNA Certification

CNAs in Wisconsin must either complete a state-approved training program or a basic nursing course for RNs or LPNs, then pass the state competency exam. Those with relevant military training may also be eligible, and CNAs who trained in other states.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services manages certifications.

Education and Examination

All programs must have a minimum of 75 training hours, 16 of which must be clinical work in basic nursing and patient care. You have one year after completing your training program to pass the state competency exam administered by Headmaster. The written knowledge and skills exam fee is $125.

Certification Renewal

Your certification period begins as soon as you pass your competency exam and lasts for 24 months. You must work a minimum of eight paid hours in a nursing position under the supervision of an RN or LPN to remain active on the registry. Continuing education is not required, and there are no fees.

Wyoming CNA Certification

To become a CNA in Wyoming, you need to complete a state-approved training program and pass the state competency exam. Some nursing students and those with military medic training may also be eligible. No degree is necessary.

The Wyoming Department of Health manages certifications.

Education and Examination

You must complete a state-approved training program and pass the competency exam within 24 months. The written knowledge and skills exam costs $115 and is administered by Prometric. Wyoming follows federal laws — all CNA training programs require a minimum of 75 hours with at least 16 hours of classroom instruction on ethics, basic nursing, and patient care.

Certification Renewal

Certification is valid for two years in Wyoming before you need to renew. To be eligible to renew, you must either work a minimum of 400 hours as a CNA, work 200 hours as a CNA and complete 15 hours of continuing education, or complete 30 hours of CNA education. There are no fees.

Frequently Asked Questions About CNA Certification

How long is CNA training?

CNA training varies state-to-state, and some only require training and certification for those who work in long-term care facilities. According to federal law, all CNA training programs must provide a minimum of 75 hours of instruction to students. At least 16 of these hours must be hands-on training in a clinical setting. Instructors must be RNs with at least two years of experience.

Some required training includes basic nursing and personal care skills, mental health and social services, care for patients with cognitive impairment, restorative skills, and patient rights. CNA programs are offered at community colleges, trade schools, some high schools, and state-approved medical facilities.

What's the difference between CNA and RN?

CNAs have a certificate and do not need a degree to practice, while RNs have earned an associate or bachelor’s degree and a license. While both work directly with patients, CNAs work under the supervision of RNs and handle the basic, day-to-day care of patients. CNAs help patients with bathing, using bedpans or commodes, taking vitals, and moving patients as needed. RNs administer medications, assess patients, and work with physicians in treatment plans and patient education.

According to the BLS, the average salary for CNAs is $33,250 as of May 2021. RNs earn $77,600 per year.

What is the CNA certification exam?

The National Nurse Aide Assessment Program exam (NNAAP) tests written or verbal knowledge and clinical skills to ensure a CNA meets the minimum requirements to safely and effectively care for patients in long-term care facilities.

States offer CNA exams through Credentia, Prometric, or other state-approved training and testing sites. All CNA competency exams must meet federal guidelines and test a candidate's knowledge of basic nursing skills and patient care.

In most states, CNAs with expired certification must retake the competency exam to regain their certification. Nursing students who have passed a basic nursing course and military personnel who have passed basic medic training are also eligible to take the exam and work as CNAs.

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