What Is CNA Licensing?

CNA licensing separates a certified nursing assistant from other patient care workers, such as orderlies and nurse aides. CNA licensing certifies a nurse assistant's competency in a range of patient care tasks, allowing a person to pursue a career as a certified nursing assistant. Schools offering Nursing degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

CNA Licensing

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), a certified nursing assistant (CNA) works in nursing care facilities, hospitals and mental health care facilities (www.bls.gov). A CNA helps care for physically and mentally ill patients. A CNA also works with individuals who are injured, disabled or infirm. Nurse assistants without a CNA license can perform only limited patient care tasks and cannot be hired at certain facilities. Certified nursing assistants can tend to a range of patient needs and have career opportunities at more health care facilities.

All states require CNAs to be licensed. State and federal regulations require nurse assistants in certified facilities, such as nursing homes, to pass CNA licensing classes and exams. CNAs who work for employers reimbursed by Medicare must pass a competency test that covers a wide range of areas.

Important Facts About Training to Become a Licensed CNA

Prerequisites High school diploma or GED
Programs Facility-based training and community college programs
Online Availability Partially
Possible Careers Personal care, medical assistance, hospice care

Education for CNA Licensing

If a CNA works in a facility that receives Medicare or Medicaid funds, then the CNA must complete a minimum of 75 hours of state-approved training and pass a competency evaluation to meet requirements set by federal law. Any person who completes the program and passes the examination and a background check for criminal activity is then known as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and is placed in the state registry for nurse aides. State-certified facilities may hire only nurse assistants listed in the state registry.

Job Outlook

Nursing assistants held about 1.5 million jobs working in places like nursing homes, healthcare facilities and mental health institutions in 2012. Of this population, 26% worked in hospitals, and 42% worked in nursing care facilities. Approximately 14% of nursing assistants worked in residential care facilities during that same period. In May 2014 the BLS reported that the median salary for nursing assistants was $25,100.

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  • Independence University

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  • Maryville University

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