Frequently Asked Questions About Certified Nursing Assistant Exam (CNA)

What Does a CNA Do?

CNAs predominantly work in hospitals, nursing homes, adult daily care homes, rehabilitation centers, and other places where medical assistance is needed. The primary job responsibilities of a CNA are:

  • Taking care of patients’ daily activities, including bathing, feeding, and changing clothes.
  • Helping with patients’ movement.
  • Checking vitals.
  • Assisting registered nurses (RNs).
  • Maintaining basic sanitization.

Read our CNA job responsibilities blog to learn more.

How Do I Become a CNA?

The path of becoming a CNA is straightforward. You can become a CNA by following these four steps:

  • You must have your High School Diploma or GED.
  • Complete your CNA training hours from a state-approved organization.
  • You must complete the clinical training.
  • Qualify and receive your State CNA Certification Exam.

Are There Different Requirements to Become a CNA in Each State?

Yes, every state has different requirements to become a CNA. The total number of training hours, cost, and duration might vary state-wise.

How Long Does it Take to Become a CNA?

The CNA training course duration is not standard for every state-approved training organization. However, the typical duration of a CNA certification course is between 4 and 16 weeks.

What will the CNA Training Program Cover?

The CNA training program will comprise all the coursework and practical clinical training. These are the topics you will most likely cover across the training period:

  • Controlling infections and the basics of sanitization.
  • Data collection, analyzing, and reporting.
  • Handling patient and family communications.
  • Learning basic anatomy and physiology.
  • Learning about the patient’s rights.
  • Learning basic law and ethics of patient care.

How Much will My CNA Education Cost?

The cost of CNA Education varies across different organizations. The cost of the CNA certification program differs from associate’s degree courses. For a basic CNA diploma course, the fees can range from $100 to $3000. For an associate degree in nursing, the fees can be around $3,600 annually.

Can I Apply for Financial Aid Programs?

There are different financial aid programs and scholarships applicable to different organizations. You can apply for financial aid if you qualify for the eligibility provided by each organization.

You may be eligible for federal financial aid if you attend a community college or state-accredited vocational school. You can check your school’s accreditation for federal aid here.

How Much Will I Earn by Becoming a CNA?

The pay scale of a CNA varies depending on your job location and years of experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary of a CNA is $28,540. The pay scale varies between $19,000 and  $42,000.

A few top medical organizations where you can expect good pay as a CNA are:

  • Government hospitals and organizations.
  • Nursing homes.
  • Home healthcare services.
  • Assisted living care facilities.
  • Retirement care facilities.

Which Are the Highest Paying States for a CNA?

The CNA job opportunities have grown tremendously over the past few years. A lot of the younger generation is choosing CNA as a career option. The top 5 states offering the most salary according to the BLS are:

  • Alaska
  • New York
  • Hawaii
  • California
  • Massachusetts

What Is the Dress Code of a CNA?

The CNA dress code can differ depending on the medical organization you are working in, but the standard CNA dress code is scrubs with tennis shoes. The CNAs might carry a stethoscope along with a pen. 

How Will My Day as a CNA Look Like?

The day in the life of a CNA mostly depends on the type of medical organization you are working in. As a CNA, you may take your daily list of responsibilities from the RN and follow it accordingly. In a typical CNA’s life, the daily hospital routine includes:

  • Helping patients to start with their day.
  • Helping patients with their routines like bathing and changing clothes.
  • Checking vitals.
  • Assisting with taking daily medication.
  • Helping RNs as necessary and required.

Read more in our All You Should Know About A Day in the Life of a CNA blog.

What Is the Structure of the CNA Certification Exam?

The CNA certification exam comprises of two parts:

  • Written examination.
  • Clinical skills examination.

The written examination is in the form of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and the total examination duration is 90 minutes. The typical passing score for the examination is 70%.

To know more about the structure of the CNA exam, read our How to Prepare for CNA Exam: A Definitive Guide blog.

How Do I Prepare for My CNA Certification Exam?

To start with your preparation, check for eligibility for the CNA exam. Once you tick off the eligibility list, you have to go into detail to know the structure of the exam. Start practicing more practice tests to get familiar with the questions.

Get our CNA guide, which will provide you with a complete package to help you pass your CNA exam the first time. The CNA study guide contains:

  • Realistic questions to help you ace your exam.
  • Simulated exams.
  • Result tracking.
  • The explanation for all questions. 

Why do I need a CNA certification? 

You can get a CNA certification if you are planning to step into the nursing field. CNA is an entry-level certification exam and you will have a wide range of opportunities to opt-in future by continuing education. Without CNA certification you will not be able to work anywhere across the U.S. 

Can I practice in any State with a CNA certification? 

If you have received your CNA certification from a state-approved training organization you are eligible for CNA certification reciprocity. You have to check the reciprocity rules for the state of your choice. Every state has different requirements. Once you have an active certification and are eligible for the reciprocity you can transfer your certification to another state and can work. You can learn more about CNA certification reciprocity here

What is the career progression after becoming a CNA? 

CNA being an entry-level job gives you immense scope for future career advancement. You can gain experience as a CNA for a few years. Continuing education is another option for you to become a registered nurse. 

Read our How long does it take to become a CNA to know more. 

How many times can you take the CNA exam?

In the majority of states, you are eligible for re-taking the CNA exam three times. You only have to re-take the portion you were not able to pass. If you didn’t qualify for the written exam, you only have to appear for that. But if you fail to pass after three attempts, you have to re-take the whole program.