How Long Does It Take to Become a CNA?

Category: Skilled Nursing

nurse with stethoscope

Pursuing a path as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a popular choice for individuals who have an interest in the healthcare field but are unsure where to start. CNAs play a critical role in the daily care of patients in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities.

Today, we’ll take a closer look at how to become a CNA and how long the certification process takes. Additionally, we’ll cover some of the brief duties and responsibilities CNAs can expect to encounter on a day-to-day basis. 

At Haven Heath, we proudly offer career development opportunities, including free CNA training. Visit us online to learn more about becoming a certified nursing assistant and see how rewarding working in the healthcare industry can be. 

What Is a CNA?

Certified Nursing Assistants are an integral part of the healthcare profession. These assistants provide hands-on, one-on-one care to patients in a variety of medical settings. For individuals who want to work in healthcare but are still deciding what area to specialize in, becoming a CNA can be a great springboard. 

Under national standards, CNAs are required to work under the supervision of registered nurses and other licensed medical professionals, including nurse practitioners and doctors. CNAs help assist nurses and patients in a variety of ways. These vital support personnel will often be responsible for ensuring a patient’s basic needs are met. This includes dressing them, bathing them, and helping assist them in their recovery and medical treatment. 

Where Do CNAs Work? 

Everywhere you’ll find a nurse, chances are there’s a CNA right behind. Because of their skill set, CNAs can work in a variety of settings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics, common environments for CNAs include the following: 

  • Hospitals
  • Urgent care medical facilities
  • Private doctors’ offices 
  • Community clinics
  • Retirement homes

Because of their hands-on interaction with patients, CNAs are often employed to work with the ill and the elderly. They also work with patients in private residences who need assistance with their care, commonly in the role of a home health aide. 

Roles and Responsibilities of Certified Nursing Assistants 

CNAs are the backbone of any medical care facility because they provide the one-on-one care that patients need. Interpersonal care will often play a pivotal role in a patient’s recovery process. This is especially the case if a patient does not have a strong support system of family and friends on hand. Patients depend on CNAs for a variety of reasons, and CNAs can often become the medical professional with whom patients will spend the majority of their time.

The scope of a CNA’s duties and responsibilities vary from facility to facility. However, in a general sense, CNAs will typically be required to perform the following duties: 

  • Turning, repositioning, bathing, dressing, and assisting bedridden patients. 
  • Monitoring a patient’s vitals, including their temperature, blood pressure, heart rate, and more. 
  • Feeding patients and recording and measuring their liquid and solid food intake.
  • Document any issues or progress a patient may face during their recovery. 
  • Cleaning bedrooms, bed linens, and clothing belonging to a patient, especially in the home health care setting.
  • Assisting nurses and other medical professionals with procedural duties.
  • Dressing wounds.
  • Answering patient calls. 
  • Helping patients with simple hygiene habits, including bathing, shaving, brushing hair, clipping nails, brushing teeth, and more.
  • Preparing medical rooms for admissions.

What Are the Requirements to Become a CNA

Deciding to become a certified nursing assistant can be a rewarding job. In order to become a  CNA, however, you must have some prerequisites in place. Prospective CNAs must have a high school diploma or GED and must have attended a nursing assistant training program. 

These nursing assistant training programs are available at community colleges, trade schools, and medical facilities. 

Many times these programs are affordable, with costs ranging anywhere from $1,200 to $2,000. Additionally, there are several grant and scholarship opportunities for applicants to take advantage of.

Prospective CNAs will come across a variety of nursing assistant training programs. However, it’s essential to enroll in a program approved by the nursing board in the state you live in. Prospective CNAs should also make sure the program is approved by the National League for Nursing and Accredited Commission (NLNAC)

Preparing for the CNA certification Exam

At the end of a nurse training program, prospective CNAs will be required to take and pass the CNA certification exam. This exam will consist of a written part and a practical clinical skills part. 

The written part is typically administered in a group setting in a traditional classroom environment and consists of a number of multiple-choice questions. The second portion of the exam consists of a clinical skills exam and is administered in a setting in which a test proctor or observer examines you as you demonstrate the skills asked of you. Test takers have 90 minutes to complete the multiple-choice written exam and 30 minutes to complete the clinical skills exam. 

CNA Requirements by State

Every state has its own regulations regarding CNAs as well. It’s important to understand the CNA requirements of the state you live in, along with the state where you want to work. This way, you can make sure you meet all the requirements needed for employment. 

How Long Does It Take To Get CNA Certification?

Depending on the state you live in, the program you are a part of, and the different requirements you may need to meet, completing a CNA program can take anywhere from one to six months. Additionally, you must factor in the 175 hours of hands-on experience CNAs are required to satisfy before they are fully certified. 

Is Becoming a Certified Nurses Assistant a Good Fit For You? 

If you’re ready to get into the medical healthcare track, being a certified nurse’s assistant is one of the best ways to do so. CNAs will receive first-hand observation and, in some cases, the experience of duties and responsibilities that are required of other medical professionals, including registered nurses and doctors.

Pursuing a path as a CNA can be a great way to tap into the medical field, as it allows you to be exposed to the duties and responsibilities of a variety of medical professionals. Many practicing CNAs also share that, because of the personal nature of the job, the profession is incredibly rewarding when it comes to giving back and helping those in need. Why wait? See how easy and rewarding it can be to become a certified nurse’s assistant today!

Learn more about what it means to be a certified nurse’s assistant today. Visit Haven Health to learn more about our available CNA education programs and how you can break into the healthcare industry. 


Nursing Assistants and Orderlies. (2022).