Students who wish to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) must take an exam to receive a license to work in that position. The CNA provides basic patient care to hospital patients. Those working in this position support the nurses and help with bathing, lifting, moving, feeding, and taking patient’s vital signs. Students who want to become a CNA have a strong calling to help people. Keep reading for specific tips on CNA exam preparation.
Requirements to Receive a CNA License
Students who want to become a CNA must be 18 years old and have a high school diploma. They will have to show proof of education via sealed transcripts. Students should obtain a CPR card if it is not included in the CNA program they are attending. Background checks are a major requirement of the application process. Since CNAs work with people, they cannot have any major felonies or abuse convictions on their record. The CNA must pass the CNA exam in order to receive a license in the student’s state of practice. Some states also require the student attend a four to six week long CNA training course prior to taking the exam.
Even in states that do not require the CNA training course, students should still take it in order to pass the skills section of the license exam. The training course goes over all of the responsibilities the CNA has, along with basic medical training. Each topic the course covers are reflected on the test, which is why it is so important for students to just take the course.
After taking the CNA course, students should still study for the upcoming exam. Each state offers a different exam, but the best thing a student can do is purchase a few practice tests that correspond with the state’s test. Students should study the CNA book they received during class as this book will be invaluable during the studying process.
When a student is ready to schedule a testing date, he or she must fill out an application available from his or her state of residence. This application should include proof of education, background check, a recent CNA course (state dependent), application fee, and the student’s notarized signature. Once the state has approved the application, the student can schedule an exam.
The Testing Day
Students must arrive 15 minutes early to both sections of the exam. Both sections of the exam require the same checking in process that requires a government ID and social security card. The approval letter is another requirement. For the skills section, the student must dress professionally, have a watch with a second hand, and be wearing non-skid shoes.
The written exam varies in the length of questions from state to state, but it usually contains 70 to 150 questions. Students generally have two to three hours to complete the written portion of the test. The second half of the test is the skill’s section. Several different skills are tested, and the student must act out the part of the caregiver while following state regulations. Skills vary by state and jurisdiction, but usually include taking vital signs, bathing, dressing, feeding, and helping a patient walk.
The student must pass both portions of the exam to become a CNA. The student will know whether he or she passed the skill portion right away, but may have to wait for the results of the written test. Test scores are usually available within 10 business days, with the state license arriving shortly thereafter.