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CNA Nursing Certification

Becoming a state certified CNA is the first step to a career as a certified nursing assistant. CNA certification requires a federal minimum of 75 hours of training with at least 16 hours in the classroom and 16 hours in a hands-on clinical setting. However, various state CNA certification programs require different amounts of training and in some cases up to 160 hours of training. The good news is that this still only takes 4 weeks of full time training. The even better news is that it is possible to receive free CNA certification.

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Because of a lack of certified nurse aides in most states, there are requirements in place for employers and Medicaid to reimburse individuals that have successfully completed CNA state certification programs and found employment. In many cases, it is also possible to have institutions provide free training if an individual is hired and trained at the same long-term care facility, with a commitment to stay for a predetermined period of time.

At the completion of CNA certification training, all CNAs are required to pass a test before they may be placed on the state CNA registry and begin working as a certified nursing assistant. The administrators of the test vary state by state, but there is always a hands-on component and a multiple choice component, which may be taken as a written or spoken test. In most cases, if your certification has lapsed, this test is also required for CNA recertification.

If you don’t not complete at least eight hours of paid employment—sometimes more in certain states—CNA licenses may lapse and require state CNA recertification. The good news is that CNA recertification does not usually require a full training course. Indeed, in many states, retaking and passing the exam is all that is required. In other states, a short refresher course (around 8-16 hours) may be necessary (see our state by state summary for specifics in each state). Nevertheless, state CNA recertification is a short and easy process as long as your skills and knowledge are up to date.

While the courses can vary in length based on different state requirements, they all make sure that graduating CNAs are equipped with the baseline nursing skills to receive Nurse Aide certification—skills that include basic bedside care such as feeding, bathing, and monitoring patients, as well as helping to prepare them for medical procedures and taking care of any other day-to-day needs they may have.

Training for CNA Nurse Certification usually costs between $500 and $1500 depending on the state in which it is taken and the course provider. It is essential to make sure that they are certified by the state CNA Registry, as passing the final examination is your ticket to Certification as a CNA.

CNA Nurse Certification is a common entry-level position for health care workers, and may spark a lifelong career in the field as one pursues further training and moves up the ranks to become a Licensed Practical Nurse, a Registered Nurse and beyond. After all, nursing is one of the fastest growing occupations in the United States and will continue to be in high demand for years to come.

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