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Becoming certified as a CNA is a relatively brief process compared to becoming a nurse or a full-fledged doctor, but still involves plenty of hard work and several prerequisites. You must have a high school diploma, a GED, or an HSED, be able to carry out basic math, and speak the English language well enough to understand patients clearly and to be understood by them.
Each state has its own specific certification requirements as well, and may have a few additional prerequisites. However, no matter where in the United States you attempt to gain your CNA certification, the course of training will occupy from 6 to 12 weeks. The exact length depends on the arrangement of classes, but by government decree, you must squeeze in at least 100 hours of practical experience and 50 hours of theoretically study to qualify for the graduation exam.
Some health care facilities will provide the training gratis, albeit at the cost of signing a contract to work for them for a specified amount of time once you have completed your schooling. Even if this is not available in your area, or you do not wish to be tied down to a specific facility when you become certified, the cost of training is generally quite low.
CNA certification is carried out by the state where you are receiving your training – which is usually, but not always, the state where you permanently reside. After you have completed (and, presumably, passed) your CNA courses, you will be given a State CNA test as well. This test includes both practical (hands on) and written portions, and you will need to pass this as well to be officially certified, and thus eligible for hiring by health care facilities.
Your certification will result in your name and personal details being entered on the appropriate State’s “Nurse Aide Registry,” a database of CNAs which is used to track these health care workers, report neglectful or abusive actions carried out by them, and so on.
This database is accessible to anyone, including the CNAs themselves, via telephone or Internet. It is also one of your strongest proofs of certification – a key to having your accomplishments recognized by your potential employers, and thus to the future of your career.