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How Long Does It Take To Become a CNA?

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If you’re wondering how long does it take to become a CNA, then you’ve come to the right place. Here, we’ll explain how long typical classes take to complete and the amount of time it takes before you can get your certification and start as a CNA. You might actually be surprised how short the whole process is though, and the reason why it’s short is because CNAs only require certification whereas other healthcare occupations (LPNs and RNs) require formal education that can last anywhere from 2 to 4 years. So with that being said, if you’d still like to know how long does it take to become a CNA, keep reading!

How Long Does It Take To Become a CNA?

Let’s keep this short and sweet: the amount of time it takes to become a CNA can be anywhere from 6-12 weeks and up to 6 months. What is required to become a CNA is that you first complete a state-approved training course as well as pass a state certification exam afterwards. Typical CNA training classes last around 3-12 weeks for a standard 3 credit course, covering everything you’ll need to know to perform well as a CNA. And as you can guess, the longer programs that last up to 6 months provide a more in-depth education, although it doesn’t necessarily provide any extra benefits compared to the 3-12 week programs. The amount of time it takes to complete training is also wholly dependent on whether you choose to study part-time or full-time.

CNA classes can be found in a variety of places, including community colleges, vocational schools, technical colleges, nursing homes, hospitals, or other institutions that offer state approved CNA training. It also doesn’t really matter where you choose to get training, as most CNA classes are very similar to each other.

To continue, depending on the state you live in, these classes must provide anywhere from a minimum of 75 hours up to 180 hours of training. You can typically assume that the CNA programs in your state will provide the necessary amount of hours you need, although you’ll have to make sure. These hours will be split up between knowledge/lecture and clinical/laboratory training, although you can complete the knowledge/lecture section online.

To get an idea of what each portion will teach you, refer to this chart:

how long does it take to become a cna

Knowledge/Lecture Portion: Clinical/Laboratory Portion:
  • Patient privacy and rights
  • Human anatomy, physiology, and nutrition
  • Medical terms
  • Mental health care
  • Roles and responsibilities
  • Legal issues
  • Patient care – bathing, moving, feeding, etc.
  • Special needs and restorative care
  • Communication skills or social skills
  • CPR skills
  • Documentation skills
  • Infection control

After you’ve completed your CNA training, the next step is to complete a certification exam provided by the state. The certification exam will include both a clinical portion as well as a knowledge portion that will cover everything you’ve learned from training. Obviously, if you are passionate about nursing and paid attention in class, you’ll have no problem demonstrating your skills as a CNA. The clinical portion is often supervised by a registered nurse, where you will be tasked with performing 3-5 skills you’ve learned to show your competency. The knowledge portion will come in the form of a multiple choice exam that can contain anywhere from 55-70 questions. 

After you’ve finished the exam, you will be notified whether you have passed or failed. If for any reason you fail, you can simply re-schedule and re-take the test another time, presumably after practicing and studying a little more. That’s it! After you’ve completed the state exam, you’ll have earned your certification, which you can use to apply at a variety of workplaces. So now you know how long does it take to become a CNA, and if you’re still interested, you can start looking for CNA schools today!