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Requirements and License Information for Certified Nursing Assistant

Majors Overview January 10, 2013

Nursing homes, psychiatric wards, rehabilitation centers, doctors’ offices and hospitals are the most common settings in which certified nursing assistants find employment. Certified nursing assistants provide staff support to nurses and doctors. Though their duties can vary according to the work environment in which they are employed, certified nursing assistants normally take vital signs, change wound dressings and help patients with mobility issues. Prospective certified nursing assistants have to enroll into a training program to meet state licensure norms. In this article, we will look at the licensure norms that certified nursing assistants are required to satisfy before they can find work in their state.

License Information for Certified Nursing Assistant

Every certified nursing assistant is required to possess a state license, though the licensing norms can differ from state to state (source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) ( Some states accept licenses issued by other states; however, many insist on nursing assistants to repeat the licensing process to ensure that their state standards are satisfied. Usually, workers are required to complete a CNA training program, comprising a minimum of seventy-five hours of coursework, a combination of hands on patient care training under supervision, and classroom lectures. Candidates are also subjected to criminal background check before they are allowed to take the licensing exam. In some states, there are two tiers of CNA programs to complete; these states restrict CNAs depending on the tasks candidates are able to complete in accordance with their licensing level. In other states, CNAs are required to register with the state registry boards after they have been awarded state licenses. In a majority of states, CNAs are required to participate in continued education in order to renew their licenses.

Career Requirements for Certified Nursing Assistant


Completing a CNA training program is a mandatory requirement for aspiring CNAs. Some CNA programs incorporate some training components to their regular coursework in order to meet the specific licensing requirements in their state. Coursework typically includes subject areas like emergency medical services, patient care, residents’ rights, infection control, and basic nursing skills. Most programs include hands on training in clinical settings to help students apply classroom instruction in the treatment of real-world patients.

Additional Skills

As CNAs are required to assist medical staff and patients alike, they are expected to have communication skills. Listening skills can help them understand instructions given by nurses and doctors while CNAs speaking skills will come handy in explaining care instructions to patients. Written skills are needed due to frequent notations that CNAs need to make regarding the status of each patient. Strong interpersonal skills will help CNAs in their chosen career field where they are required to work closely with patients. Above all, CNAs are required to have a lot of stamina since they spend most of their working day on their feet. They need sufficient strength in their upper bodies to be able to lift and move patients. There are routine tasks CNAs are generally required to perform in the course of their duties; hence, the ability to accurately perform routine tasks will be a tremendous asset to CNAs.

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