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How Long Does It Take to Become a CNA?

In most cases, the courses required for becoming a CNA last two to four months. The certification process usually takes a day to complete once you are through training. It really depends on the state in which you live and the program you choose. The programs focus on preparing you to take your state's certification exam. Licensing is not part of the equation. In the nursing professions, only LPNs and RNs hold licenses from the state. It is important to find a CNA program that your state recognizes. Without that, you will not be eligible for certification in most cases. Choose your education source wisely and you will have a good change of working as a CNA.

The length of time depends on what state you live in and what college you attend. Federal guidelines require 75 hours minimum. In Alabama, the state requires a minimum of 75 hours of training, both practical and theoretical. That is the basic federal guideline. New Hampshire, in contrast, requires students to take more hours of training that can add up to 13 weeks of training. California requires 150 hours. In addition, the school that you choose can add additional hours to their graduation requirements. Any program should combine class work with hands on work in a clinical setting. This prepares the CNA to work in a real world environment.

After completing your education, you need to complete your state's exam for certification. Most of these tests are very similar in structure. They involve both a written and a skills test. The written test is often multiple-choice and can cover a variety of topics. Those topics can include basic patient care, handling patient needs, providing a safe environment for patients, and patient communication. The skills test can cover any of about 25 different skills that a CNA typically needs in the workplace. This can include washing hands, patient communication, helping patients become ambulatory, dealing with patient hygiene, and taking vital signs. The applicant must pass both satisfactorily before they receive certification.

Make sure you college course is state certified or recognized. Most states recognize certain training courses in their borders that offer the curriculum they require of CNAs. However, with people moving around the country, many states can recognize training provided outside their borders as meeting their criteria. These reciprocity or trans-border agreements work out well for the states as well as the applicants.