The process of becoming a CNA


      Often times, people seeking to become a CNA (also known as a certified nursing assistant) spend wasted hours researching how they can achieve their goal. Eventually, many of them will find themselves stuck in some overpriced local course taught by a teenager fresh out of high school. Now I am not saying this won’t get you certified, because it might. However, I’m here to simplify the overall process so that you can make a better decision for your future.

First, you must understand almost every country and/or State differ somehow with regards to nursing regulations. For the sake of simplification, I will only be covering becoming a CNA within the United States and as a broad overview to boot. So, if you are trying to obtain your CNA license in a foreign country or you’re planning to transfer your license from a different country to the U.S., this article will do little for you. Also, individuals seeking their license here in the States must first understand CNA regulations do vary from State to State. Although, these variations are typically small, I suggest you contact your local nursing board for more detailed information. Here is a link to all the nursing boards in the United States:

From there you can look into the education aspect itself. Depending on what your local regulations are you may be able to take a CNA training course online and simply test out. Again, check with your local nursing board for more information concerning their requirements. Below is the typical learning options to become a nurse’s aid. They are listed in order from most accepted to least accepted, with the estimated average cost of attendance noted.


Nursing Assistant Education Options

  • State/College Accredited CNA Course - $2,000+

  • Care Facility direct training (requires you to be an employee) –FREE

  • Local Private CNA Course - $600

  • Online CNA Course – FREE


As you can see there are many different options to become a certified nursing assistant. Some of the options take much longer than others. The simplest way to get your CNA is online, however, you must first check to see if this an acceptable method. Many States require you to take a CNA course at an accredited program or college. However, there can be ways around this. For example, individuals seeking their license in Michigan can take equivalent training in another State and, if approved, test out with Michigan for their license. Again, this all goes back to your individual States CNA requirements.

Once you have choose your method of nursing assistant training you then will typically take a test. CNA exams are typically composed of two sections. The first section being a practical. This means you will be preforming skills on a real life person or dummy in front of your examiner. The second section of the nursing aid exam will be a written portion, usually multiple choice.

If you successfully pass your nursing assistant tests and other requirements you will be issued your CNA license. This will allow you to work in the State you obtained the license in. You can begin applying for jobs and once hired work.

The key things to remember when trying to obtain a nursing assistant certification is that every State has different requirements. Always check with local nursing officials for YOUR requirements. Also, be aware there might be special exception to the normal training routes.