Hi all, welcome to another informative piece on CNA Requirements by State!

After reading this guide to the end, you will become familiar with your State’s specific CNA requirements and how you can obtain a CNA certification, registration, or license.

In summary, we’ll cover:

  • CNA Licensing Basic Requirements
  • CNA Educational Requirements 
  • CNA State Requirements

Let’s dive straight into it!

CNA Licensing Basic Requirements 

CNA Licensing Basic Requirements 

An excellent way to break into the nursing field is to become a certified nurse assistant (CNA)

There are a few requirements, but it’s also a great way to get experience in administering daily patient care to achieve better health outcomes for your patients. 

One of the first things to keep in mind when considering becoming a CNA is that the requirements to obtain your license will vary by state. 

However, while different states require their candidates to hold various things, there are many similarities which we will discuss below as the basic CNA Requirements.

Requirement 1: Education 

When you decide to embark on a CNA Training Program, most Program providers like the American Red Cross will require that you hold a high school diploma or a GED. 

However, according to CNA License.org, not many state licensing departments need you to hold a high school diploma or GED to take the State Licensing Exam. 

Nonetheless, you might inevitably have to get these educational requirements to fulfill your CNA Training Program requirements.

Requirement 2: Age 

The minimum age requirement for getting a Certified Nursing Assistant license in some states is 16 years old. 

While some 16-year-old individuals may still be in high school, they can begin with their CNA Training Program part-time and take the CNA licensing exam in some states should they pass the CNA Training. 

While some states will allow candidates aged 16 years to take the CNA exam, 16-year-old Certified Nursing Assistants may encounter hurdles when seeking employment. 

Many nursing homes and other care facilities are only willing to hire CNAs 18 years older.

Requirement 3: Documents

When applying to take the CNA certification test, a Nursing Registry may request documents like a driver’s license or state identification card, a diploma, or a GED (if this is a requirement of your specific CNA training program). 

Furthermore, you might have to produce health screening, proof of TB Test, immunization records, CPR and first aid certificates, and a CNA Training Program Certification.

Requirement 4: Screening

Most Nurse aide training providers and all states issuing CNA Licenses will require that you undergo a criminal record screening. 

It is paramount that only Nurse Aides with a clean record be certified. 

While you might obtain a CNA license with a minor criminal conviction, many employers will not consider you for hiring.  

Now that we’ve covered the general requirements across states, let’s delve deeper and explore the CNA Licensing Requirements by State. 

CNA Requirements by State

CNA Requirements by State

When researching what it takes to become a CNA, it’s essential to thoroughly understand what is required from the specific state you want to practice to ensure you meet every requirement.

Hence, here is a look at the CNA Licensing Requirements by State below:


To obtain a CNA License in Alabama, you will have to have graduated from an approved CNA Training Program. 

The Training Program should be at least 75 clock hours, and as part of those hours, you should have completed 16 hours of education dedicated to clinical training and 16 hours of schooling administered in labs. 

Lastly, candidates for the CNA certificate in Alabama must pass the Nurse aide competency exam. Prometric and Pearson VUE administers the exam. 


Foremost, a CNA candidate wanting to obtain certification in Alaska will need to be 17 years or older. 

Furthermore, they’ll have to produce proof of Immunization and a two-step TB Test.

Concerning education, should a candidate not hold a high school diploma or a GED, they have to provide an Accuplacer to prove sufficient reading and math ability. 

Then, you should complete 140 hours of training from a state-approved course. 

Part of the 140 hours should include 60 hours of classroom time and 80 hours of practical training. 

Finally, you need to take and pass the Alaska Nurse Aide Examination. 


To obtain your CNA License in Arizona, you need to get training from a state-approved CNA Training Institution. 

Your CNA Training should be 120 hours. Once you’ve completed your training, you’ll have to pass your State’s skills exam and submit proof of residency in that State. 


Acquiring a CNA License in Arkansas requires you to complete a state-approved Training program which totals 90 clock hours. 

Furthermore, you’ll need to apply with Prometric Registry to take the CNA competency exam. 

Once you pass the exam, you should obtain your certification.


Becoming a Certified Nurse aide in California is a little bit easier than in other states, in the sense that you can begin your application from 16 years old.

Like other states, you need to take a state-approved Training Program. You also need to undergo a criminal record assessment. 

Finally, you need to pass the Competency Evaluation Examination. 


Becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant in Colorado requires you to undergo a state-approved CNA Training program, which you should complete successfully. 

The State requires that the training should be 80 clock hours. 

After the training is complete, you must pass the CNA examination. 


Prospective Nursing Aide in Connecticut must obtain at least 100 clock hours of a Nurse Aide Training Program. 

The State also requires that the Nurse Aide Training Program be coordinated by a Registered Nurse who has at least two years of nursing experience, including experience in Licensed Chronic Convalescent and experience working at a nursing home. 

After taking the program, you must pass both sections of the Prometric’s CNA Competency Exam. 


Working as a Nurse Aide in Delaware requires you to receive Nurse Aide training at a state-approved training center. 

Once that’s complete, you will have to take and pass the Nurse Aide Certification Examination. 

The Division of Long Term Care Residents Protection of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services oversees all the regulations that govern the procedures associated with obtaining your CNA license in Delaware – in case you would like to get more information. 


To become a CNA in Florida, you need to be 18 years older. 

You will also be required to go for background screening. 

Additionally, according to the Florida Board of Nursing, you will have to meet one of their several requirements, including completing a state-approved training program or completing a course administered by the Enterprise Florida Jobs and Education Partnership grant. 

Finally, you may also choose to take the Nursing Assistant Competency Examination, to which you should have obtained a high school diploma or GED or be 18 years of age before taking this exam.


In Georgia, becoming a CNA requires obtaining 85 clock hours of a state-approved training program. 

Once you have completed your training, you can take the CNA Certification Exam under Pearson VUE. 

You can only take the exam within a year of completing your CNA Training Program, so keep that in mind. 


Hawaii has some of the most precise Certification requirements. 

All you need to do is complete your state-approved CNA Training program and take and pass the CNA Examination, which Prometric administers. 


According to the Department of Health and Welfare in Idaho, you will have to take a Nurse Aide training course approved by the State. 

Furthermore, you’ll have to take a Prometric administered exam consisting of two sections, a practical exam that examines your clinical skills and a written exam. 

Once you’ve passed the exam, you will become certified. 


A prospective CNA must take a state-approved Nurse Aide Training Program in Illinois, including passing a written competency test. 

In addition, if you hold one of the following certifications, you may be considered to become a CNA; proof that you completed a Nursing Arts Course, proof that you completed a US Military Nurse Aide training program, or you hold a foreign RN or LPN Certification. 


Becoming an Indiana CNA requires completing 105 hours of a state-approved CNA Training Program and then taking on the CNA Certification Examination. 

Ivy Tech Community College administered the written and clinical skills evaluation Examination. 


Unlike most states, the hours required for a state-approved CNA Training Program are relatively few. 

All you have to complete is 75 clock hours. 

Then, you need to pass the Nurse Aide Competency tests, after which you will receive certification. 


To become a Nursing Assistant in Kansas, you need to complete at least 90 clock hours of a state-approved CNA training program. 

Once you’ve successfully received certification from the training program, you may then take the CNA certification exam. 

Passing the CNA certification exam with a 75% or higher score will allow you to obtain a CNA license. 


Unlike most States, the State of Kentucky does not require Nursing Assistants to be certified but instead registered. 

In Kentucky, becoming a Registered Nurse Assistant, otherwise known as a State Registered Nurse Aide (SRNA), requires you to obtain a state-approved CNA training program. 

After that, you need to take the certification exam, which consists of two sections: a written and a practical section. 

Once you pass the exam, you will become a registered nursing aide.


Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant is pretty easy in the State of Louisiana. 

All you need to do is complete a state-approved CNA program and take and pass the CNA certification exam. 

Once you pass your certification exam, it will take a couple of weeks for the State to issue the certificate.


Applying to Become a CNA in Maine will require you to fill out an application form for placement on Maine’s CNA Registry. 

Before making an application, you needed to obtain a state-approved CNA training program of 180 clock hours. 

Additionally, you need to take a Maine CNA competency test which you should successfully pass. 

Finally, you must submit a copy of your criminal background record for analysis when submitting your application. 

Once the State approves your documentation, you should receive a Nurse Aide certification. 


To become a CNA in Maryland, you need to complete 100 hours of a CNA program that the Maryland higher education commission has approved. 

Furthermore, you need to take and pass a certified nursing assistant certification exam which consists of two sections, a written and practical section. 


As per the Massachusetts Government’s Nurse Aide Registry Program, you need to take a state-approved CNA training program before sitting in for the CNA certification exam. 

The American Red Cross administers the CNA certification exam, and it consists of two sections, like many of the CNA Certification exams across states in the US. 

The sections included are a written section and a skills section. 


Becoming a CNA in Michigan is also reasonably easy. 

Firstly, you must take a state-approved CNA training program and pass the CNA certification exam. 

Once you obtain your CNA certification through Prometric, it will be valid for two years before going back to the Licensure for renewal. 


Like Kentucky, Nursing Aides have to be registered and not Certified to practice as nursing assistants. 

Hence, they are correctly referred to as State registered Nurse Assistants (SRNA) rather than Certified Nursing Assistants. 

Foremost, becoming an SRNA requires taking a state-approved nursing assistant training program. 

Then, you have to pass the Nursing assistant competency evaluation test. 

Suppose you do not follow the procedure mentioned above. In that case, Minnesota may also allow you to become an SRNA should you be in good standing with the nurse registry from another state and have completed at least 8 hours of Nursing Assistant work within the last 24 months. 


There are two main requirements for obtaining a CNA certification in Mississippi. 

Firstly, you need to complete a state-approved CNA training program. 

Finally, you need to take and pass the state CNA certification exam. 

Pearson VUE administers the state CNA exam, and it consists of two sections. 


According to the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, prospective CNAs must complete 175 hours of a CNA Training Program. 

Included in the 175 hours should be 100 hours of practical training. 

Once you receive a certificate to prove your successful completion of the CNA Training Program, you may take the CNA certification exam, which comprises a written section and a practical section. 


Earning a place in the State of Montana’s Nurse Registry and ultimately obtaining your Nursing Assistant certification will require prospective CNAs to enroll themselves in a state-approved CNA Training Program, which they should complete.

After that, they may take the state CNA certification exam. Upon attaining a passing score, the prospective CNA will become certified. 


To be considered a CNA in Nebraska, you need to be 16 years and older. 

Secondly, you need to complete 75 hours of a CNA Training Program approved by the State. 

In addition, Nebraska requires CNA candidates to submit a criminal background record and complete 1 hour of a Nebraska abuse neglect or misappropriation Training Program. 

Finally, like all states in this list, you will have to take and pass a CNA examination to receive your certification.


Getting a CNA certificate in Nevada requires a lot of things, so you might want to take some notes down. 

A Prospective CNA must be at least 17 years old to take the state exam. 

You must also provide proof of immunization and a criminal background check. 

TB testing will be required as well. 

Finally, per the Nevada nursing department, you must obtain a passing score on your Nursing Competency exam. 

New Hampshire

Before obtaining a New Hampshire CNA certification, you must take a state-approved CNA training program and pass the CNA Competency evaluation examination. 

New Jersey

According to the State of New Jersey’s Department of Health, getting a CNA certification requires completing 90 hours of a CNA training program. 

You should break the 90 hours into 50 classroom hours and 40 practical hours. 

After that, you need to take and pass the state CNA certification exam. 

Suppose you’ve already been certified from another state. In that case, you may be eligible to work in New Jersey as long as you can produce the original certificate from the State and if you have a clean criminal record. 

New Mexico

Getting a CNA certification in New Mexico is relatively straightforward. 

All you need to do is complete a state-approved training program and pass the CNA certificate in an exam that Prometric administers. 

New York

Prospective CNAs in New York must take a state-approved CNA training program and pass the CNA competency exam before becoming certified nursing assistants.

North Carolina

Becoming a nursing aide in North Carolina requires you to complete 75 hours of CNA training and pass the two-sectioned CNA examination, which Pearson VUE administers. 

North Dakota

Before becoming a CNA in North Dakota, you must complete a CNA training program that the State has approved. 

Lastly, you’ll need to complete the CNA certification exam, which can be taken by the Pearson VUE or D & S Diversified Technologies. 


Obtaining a Nurse Aide certification in Ohio requires completing 75 hours of a CNA training program. 

After that, you must take the CNA certification exam and achieve a passing score in both exam sections. 

Additionally, you should note that you have three chances to pass the CNA certification exam. 


Holding the title of a CNA in Oklahoma requires that you take a 75-hour-long CNA training program and then pass the CNA certification exam.


If you’re keen on becoming a CNA in Oregon, you must complete a state-approved CNA training program. 

They are, so you should pass the senior certificate exam and pass the criminal background check.


Within 24 months of completing your Pennsylvania-approved CNA training program, you should take the state CNA certification exam and pass it to be considered a certified nursing assistant. 

Rhode Island

In Rhode Island, a Nurse Aide must obtain licensing rather than certification; hence they are referred to as a Licensed Nursing Assistant(LNA). 

Becoming an LNA in Rhode Island requires taking a CNA training program for at least 120 hours. 

Furthermore, you need to pass the Nursing Assistant competency exam and then apply to obtain a license. 

South Carolina

Becoming a CNA in South Carolina requires you to complete a state-approved training program which should include 100 hours of training, and then sit in for the CNA exam administered by Pearson VUE. 

South Dakota

You can start the process of becoming a CNA in South Dakota from 16 years of age. 

All required is obtaining a state-approved CNA Training Program and passing the CNA state exam. 


If you are interested in working as a CNA in Tennessee, you’ll have to complete a Nurse Aide training program that the State has approved.

Furthermore, you’ll have to take the state CNA competency exam 24 months from completing your training program. 


If you are keen on working as a Nurse Aide in Texas, you must complete a state-approved CNA program and pass a state competency examination. 

If you have already obtained a license from a different state, you will be eligible to apply for reciprocity or a waiver. 


To be recognized by the Utah Nursing Assistant Registry as a CNA, you must complete a state-approved training program and a competency evaluation program administered by NATCEP. 

After that, you need to take and pass the state examination. 


Becoming a Licensed Nursing Assistant in Vermont requires you to take a nursing education program that teaches practical and in-classroom skills. 

After that, you may take the LNA Examination, and should you pass, you will be awarded a license. 


Prospective CNAs in Virginia must take a Virginia-approved CNA Training Program and pass the certification exam administered by Pearson VUE. 


Prospective CNAs must undergo a minimum of 85 hours of a CNA Training Program and take a competency exam to become a CNA. 

Should you be from another state, you’ll have work experience in a healthcare facility to be considered a CNA in Washington. 

West Virginia

Becoming a CNA in West Virginia requires taking 120 hours of a state-approved CNA Program. After that, you need to obtain a passing score in the two-part competency evaluation exam.


To become a Nurse Aide in Wisconsin, you must take a state-approved Training Program and pass the competency exam. 

After that, you’ll receive a certification valid for two years. 


CNA Candidates in Wyoming need to complete a state-approved Nurse Aide program, submit an application to the Wyoming State Board of Nursing, and take an exam before being listed in the Wyoming nursing Registry.


Conclusion on CNA requirements by states

In this guide, we’ve looked at the state-specific requirements for becoming a Nursing Aide. 

While there are several overlapping factors regarding the requirements from State to State, there are also several differences that you need to consider. 

After reading this guide, we hope that you are well informed to begin embarking on becoming a Certified Nursing Aide. 


FAQs on CNA requirements by states

Do CNAs have to be certified in each State?

If you meet all the requirements to hold a certification in another state, and the new State believes that you will fulfill the job according to their expectations, you may qualify for reciprocity of your CNA license. However, some states don’t allow the transfer of certification or licensing. 

How long does a CNA license last?

A CNA certification typically lasts two years.  Once the two years lapse, you’ll have to fill out a renewal form and pay a renewal fee to renew your license. 

How long does it take to become a CNA?

With different states requiring their CNA candidates to fulfill a specific number of hours of CNA Training, the exact time it takes to become a CNA can not be generalized. However, according to Indeed, it can take anywhere between 4months to12months to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. 

How long does it take to get a CNA license in California?

Getting a CNA License in California requires 100 hours of practical training and an additional 50 hours of classroom training. In addition to taking the CNA exam and applying for your license, it may take you 6 to 15 weeks to become a licensed Nursing Assistant. 

Is CNA certification valid in all states?

A CNA Certification is not valid in all states, but in the State you plan to practice. Should you want to move states, many states will allow CNAs to transfer their license from one State to another through reciprocity. 

What is the best State to work as a CNA?

According to Zippia, the best State to work as a CNA is New Hampshire. CNAs who practice there earn an average annual salary of $36 485, and there are about 864 CNA jobs in New Hampshire. Maine and Oregon follow New Hampshire as the best states for CNAs.

What State needs CNAs the most? 

According to Zippia, Seattle, WA, has the most demand for CNAs. However, most Certified Nursing Assistants are located in New York and Chicago.


Division of Corporations, Business and Professional Licensing

Connecticut State Department of Public Health

Florida Board of Nursing 

Illinois Department of Public Health 

TN Department of Health


Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services

State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services

Arizona State Board of Nursing 

State of New Jersey Department of Health 

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