CNA License Information

CNA Training and Getting the CNA License are the final steps to becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant. The license is usually granted after completing the required certification exam successfully.

Do you want to enter into some aspect of the nursing field without becoming a nurse?  You should consider training for a career as a certified nursing assistant (commonly referred to as a CNA.)  Nursing assistants provide a variety of services for patients to help make their time in a hospital or continuing care community more comfortable.  There are some tasks that you can complete as a nursing aide without being certified.  However, you will be able to provide more services and receive a higher salary if you complete training to obtain your CNA license.

CNA Training

Before you will become eligible to take the Certified Nursing Assistant licensing exam, you will need to complete a CNA training program.  The program will provide you with the education and training you need to work successfully as a nursing assistant.  Each CNA training program will also prepare you for your certification examination.

There will be lecture portions of your training, lab studies, skills and hands on training and clinical experience.  You will learn basic patient procedures and how to provide a variety of services for your patients.  The course will teach you how to provide your patients with assistance for activities of daily living.  You will learn how to monitor vital signs, complete patient documentation and even how to reposition patients who are not very mobile or not mobile at all.

Many community colleges and technical training schools offer CNA training courses.  Many chapters of the Red Cross provide nursing assistant training programs.  You will also find that many nursing care facilities and other healthcare providers offer CNA training.  The duration of a course will vary among providers.  However, most courses are at least 3 to 6 weeks in length.

About the CNA Licensing Exam

You must pass the certification examination before you can be employed as a certified nursing assistant(in most states).  This exam will carry two parts.  There is a theoretical portion of the test in which you are asked questions about patient procedures, protecting patient privacy and other information you covered in your lectures, textbooks and workbooks.  This is the written portion of the licensing exam.  When you look online you can find may websites offering samples question for the CNA exam.  Look over some of these websites in order to have a feel for some of the information that will be covered.

The second part of your test, will be the clinical portion.  This is where you will need to show the examiner that you are ready to perform the tasks of a certified nursing assistant.  Of course, you will not be able to demonstrate all tasks but will be asked to demonstrate a few.   You might be asked to bring someone with you for your testing to serve as your model patient for the exam.  When you are completing the test, do not forget to demonstrate all safety and privacy procedures that you learned as part of the skills you must demonstrate.

Do not forget that you will need to complete credits and take other steps each year in order to keep your lcense active after you have passed the certification exam.

50 Responses to CNA License Information

  1. donna whalen May 18, 2010 at 12:36 am #

    yes i have a question i have not worked as a cna in the last 2 yrs because i have been sick and my recertification had pasted do i need to take the class over or is their a few that i can pay. thank you your time donna email (removed for privacy reasons)

    • Admin June 2, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

      Hi Donna,
      you will need to take the classes as well as the certification test again. I’m so sorry for your illness and I hope you feel better soon.

    • isabell October 25, 2012 at 3:07 am #

      i need infomation how to keep mi cna lic im in disability
      its goin to expireext year

  2. Christine July 29, 2010 at 8:04 pm #

    I have a criminal background, but have heard that you do not have to have a clean record. What are the requirements?

  3. jamie christner October 1, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    I worked in a Hospital out of state for 81/2 years, and was given the opportunity to be able and take a Nursing Assistant course thru the hospital. I pass the course and a certificate thru the school I took it from. I now moved back to Indiana and all the jobs I have apply to for CNA openings, they ask if I am certified thru the state of indiana. I am not and would like know if I can take just the two parts of the test to get my certification.

    • Admin October 5, 2010 at 6:42 pm #

      Hi jamie,
      You’ll need to apply for reciprocity with the nursing board in Indiana. COntact them and mail them your prior CNA License certification and see what they say.

  4. Tina June 14, 2011 at 1:22 am #

    I have a CNA Certificate in the state of Kansas but it has went into the inactive status because I moved to Colorado and have not worked in the field for over 5 years what do I have to do to get them transferred and stuff ?

    • Admin June 18, 2011 at 1:04 pm #

      Since the time elapsed is more than 2 years, you’d most likely have to retake the training and certification exam. You can contact the Kansas nurse aide registry to confirm.

      • JENNIFER EPPS March 7, 2013 at 8:37 pm #

        PLZ HELP!

        • Admin March 8, 2013 at 4:10 pm #

          Your license is valid for two years. It will expire in 2014

  5. Lauryn Mcdonald June 21, 2011 at 6:08 pm #

    i currently live in mississippi and i have graduated from a college cna program where they course was full time and we had a month of hands on clinicals, i take my certification test July 9th and am thinking about moving to south carolina for a better job oppertunity, what would i need to do to transfer my licence, or a number i could call for further instruction?

  6. marle August 17, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

    I am currently in a cna training program in arizona.. I am moving to iowa after I am finished but there is a long waiting period between the course end and being able to take the exam. The schooling requirements in arizona are higher than iowas.. can I just take iowas exam instead of arizonas to avoid reciprocity?

    • Admin August 17, 2011 at 11:04 pm #

      Hi Marie,
      As far as I am aware, you will not be able to do that. The only option would be to come back to Iowa and do the test and THEN start the reciprocity process. Please check with the Arizona CNA registry for further clarification.

  7. Heather December 30, 2011 at 6:12 am #

    Hi, I currently live in WA originally from FL. I received my HHA (home health aide) certification from FL but would like to get a CNA license is it possible to just take the test for CNA with the HHA training? Also I am currently enrolled in college for my ADN and have taken all my pre-reqs but my nursing course does not start until fall 2012 and I want to work in the field ASAP.

  8. Monica January 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    Hi, i have a certificate in NY and worked in a long term care facility in from 2009 to May of 2010, i never renewed my certificate when i got the form because i was no longer working as a CNA but now im trying to re-establish my certificate and just need to know if the time i worked during 2010 is enough to renew my CNA through my previous employer. Thanks

    • Admin January 30, 2012 at 10:07 pm #

      Yes it should be enough. You usually need 8 to 12 hours of work experience in the last 2 years preceding the date your license is expiring.

  9. chris February 7, 2012 at 4:51 pm #

    I have moved to Alabama and I have been a CNA for 18 years. Is my certification good here or what do i have to do

  10. Leighann February 21, 2012 at 3:17 am #

    How long does it take for the board to give you a date to take exam. My school has said they sent my papers off via the web is there a way to check statues?

  11. Shell February 23, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    I worked for the same company in the State of Florida 16 years and and took my CNA in 1990 in Ohio. My posistion as a Phlebotomist and been unble to find my CNA and Phlebotomy certificaion. Is there a way of getting a copy from the state of Ohio. If so who do I contact …..

    Thank you in advance for your response

  12. Chante July 8, 2012 at 2:25 am #

    Hi. I am planning to take and complete the CNA course in North Carolina but i live in Michigan and i am only visiting NC. What do i need to do/ look into to insure that i will still have my CNA license when i return to MI after the course?

  13. Michelle July 25, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    I would like to know I am HHA now and as I look over the practice exams online I find myself answering the questions so what I want to know is there a two to three week class that I can take in Cleveland Ohio for free and if so where . I have an F5 on my record will that hurt my chances at becoming an CNA

  14. Martha Huff August 3, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Please advise as to the procedure for recertification of Certified Nursing Assistant in North Carolina. I have been out of the CNA field since 2006 and would like to get recertified if possible. I was first a CNA then returned to Brunswick Coommunity College and received my CNAII certification. Thanking you in advance for your assistance in this matter.

  15. Cathy October 24, 2012 at 10:31 pm #

    I am a PCA and I have my certificate, I took the program in 2000 and I have been working as a PCA steady ever since, can I still take my CNA state boards or do I have to take the whole class over again or is their a refresher course I can take? This would be in Virginia.. Thank you!

  16. dionne deas November 12, 2012 at 2:02 am #

    my question is i’m looking for the the school location in grand rapid, mich. wher i take my test. back between 1997-98 i think could you help me ?

  17. jacksonhog12 November 23, 2012 at 1:03 am #

    Can anyone answer this ? I recently took my CNA exam and pass both parts. when can I start to apply for jobs. Do I have to wait until I receive my licence in the mail

  18. JaKeisha November 25, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    I’m trying to find out where I’d go for state licensing tests in North Carolina. I’ve finished my studies and have done practice tests, and I believe I’m prepared for the state test.

  19. shari November 28, 2012 at 5:41 pm #

    Hi I am trying to find a phone number so I can call to get another copy of my certiication. I am from Pa, and I moved and I can.t find it thank you

  20. brandy shultz December 13, 2012 at 10:37 am #

    I have a question I took my can classes in January of 2011 I got my certificate of completion an was hired in the same place nhc of Dunlap I was fired before they were required to pay for my state board test so I never took it. Do I have to take the classes all over again in order to take state board test?

  21. Tara January 17, 2013 at 10:41 am #

    I got my CNA certification in October 2012 I was 16 weeks pregnant by the time I finished the course (paid for the class before I found out) anyways I never got a job yet because I was showing so now I have to wait till after the birth of my job which puts me right at about 6 months after being certified. Do I have to be employed as a CNA within 6 months of being certified or lose my license and hafta take the class over?

  22. heather rule January 20, 2013 at 3:13 am #

    Im a certified nursing assistant in arizona but im moving to kentucky how would i go about tranfering my license to kentucky from arizona??

  23. scott February 2, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    I took the cna program in 2008 and completed it, but i never did get my certification how can i get it now ? please help

  24. Sadie February 19, 2013 at 7:16 pm #


    I have passed the CNA training and state exam, but have never recieved my certification. What should I do, or who should I contact?

  25. Felicia March 7, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    Hi I took my CNA in Jan of 2012 I didn’t pass the clinical but passed the written I am currently working as a pca

  26. Jackie March 21, 2013 at 11:47 am #

    I live in Louisiana and been a cna for 15 years but moving to the state of north Carolina to be with my finace’

  27. Kaylie April 4, 2013 at 4:42 pm #

    Hello, I received my CNA license in Utah at the end of my high school year (around June of 2012). I have not had a CNA job since I received my license, and I remember my instructor saying that we had to keep a certain number of hours per year to keep it active. Do I have to have a certain number of hours PER YEAR? Or just in the two years before it expires?

    • Admin April 4, 2013 at 5:20 pm #

      Its usually 8 to 16 hours per 2 Years.

  28. Zach VerHaar April 27, 2013 at 3:01 pm #

    I originally took a class in August of 2011. Because the class was three hours from my home, I wanted to take the exam closer to home, so attempted to do that. I am still in college, so timing was not great. I attempted to go to where the exam was, but went to the wrong locaation and missed it. Since I am still in college , I have not been able to schedule an exam, until now. I will be graduating and really want to take the exam if I am still allowed.
    I have been desperately trying to get ahold of the Director in Indiana who handles all of testing for the state to no avail. What do I do????

  29. rhonda June 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm #

    I just took and passed my exams…How long does it take to for me to receive my license?

  30. Mariah July 8, 2013 at 7:30 pm #

    I am licensed in Oregon as a CNA 2 an currently working at an assisted living residence. I am interested in moving to Hawaii where most of my family lives. Can my license be transferred or do I need to start all over with training?

  31. Megan Tucker December 15, 2013 at 12:16 am #

    Hi, i took the cna course and only had two weeks left when i dropped out to take a job. I know all of the necessary skills to take the test and i have been working as a cna in a hospital. How can i find out if i am able to take the test since i know the skills and i have been employeed more than 40 hours as a cna?

  32. bethanie January 8, 2014 at 5:21 pm #

    I am about to start CNA classes so that I can get an anytime/anywhere CNA job while I do nursing school. However, I heard that there is a 190-day waiting period (Six months?!) to get the license in Rhode Island. I’m confused. I thought you could be hired as a CNA once you passed your licensure testing. Do you know the truth of this? Because there is blessed little information on it out there!

  33. Tina February 6, 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    What do I need to do to transfera CNA license from Iowa to NC? While the process is going on can I go ahead and work in NC?

  34. jessica February 17, 2014 at 3:30 pm #

    Hi, I am currently working as a personal care aide. I wanted to know since i am doing some of the task as a certified nursing assistant what do i need to do to take the state exam

  35. Kuya April 7, 2014 at 6:18 am #

    Hi, I attended a 4 year nursing school in MA, after my 1st year I was given the opportunity to work as a CNA. I applied to different hospitals and was able to get a job. My school just sent them a letter saying that I have completed certain number of hours to be a CNA, I was never given a license #. I have worked there for 2 years. Now i am in CA and was wondering what should I do now? Send the hospitals here the same letter or take the board exam?

  36. Christina Romero April 14, 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    I’m in the last week of my CNA classes in Colorado. My written finals are tomorrow 4-15-14 my mock lab exam is 4-16-14 and Clinicals start on Apr. 18th-24th. Our pinning will be May 1st. How soon can I take my state boards? Do I have to wait until after the pinning or can I do it Right After my clinicals??? I want to do it as soon as possible while it’s all still fresh in my head. I was a CNA for 20 yrs but it had expired and I had to retake the whole course and I’m worried that 20 yrs of “my way” will kick in if I wait too long to take the state test. Thank you for any information you can give.

  37. Patti August 23, 2014 at 10:34 pm #

    I’ve had my cna license since 2007. In april 2013, I had to take family leave due to getting my grandkids placed with me.On the day I was told to come back to work one of the kids was in surgery so i didn’t go back to work.A few months ago the kids were placed back with their parents. So I had planned to go back to working but then my in law broke her hip and is now bed bound and lives with me., I’m the only one she has to take care of her. Now my license expire 1/2015. If she is personally paying me herself to take care of her, she’s in her right mind.Would that count as having worked the required hours to keep my license? Please reply as I’m stressing over possibly losing my license. I live in WV. Thank you in advance for any information.

  38. Kay September 29, 2014 at 8:40 pm #

    I took my CNA courses about four months ago. I have been working at a nursing home what is the time limit I have to take my test within?

  39. michelle October 14, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

    I got CNA certified in Oct of 2013 and i have not been employed due to my daughter being really sick and me finishing some classes. I have not done my 12 hours of in service training yet and my one year mark is almost up! Will I lose my license if i dont get them done in time?

Leave a Reply