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Certified Nurse Assistant (CAN) Certification and Training

Almost all healthcare professions require national and/or state certification or licensing. This ensures that patients, administrators and other healthcare professionals can expect the same standards of treatment and behavior throughout the state, if not in all of America. Start certification offers patients and other interested parties a forum to lodge complaints against healthcare professionals and helps ensure to insurance companies that the care received by their customers is legitimate.

To become certified as a nurse’s aide or a nursing assistant, candidates must meet the following requirements. (State requirements may vary, but these are generally accurate.

  • Pass a criminal history check This involves an investigation into felony and misdemeanors committed by the candidate, as well as any disciplinary actions against the candidate in a health care setting. Traffic offenses are not likely to have any effect on certification eligibility. But some misdemeanors that occurred while caring for a patient may prevent candidates from ever working in a healthcare setting again. States would handle this on a case-by-case basis.
  • Complete an accredited nursing assistant program Many programs are nationally accredited, but ultimately it is up to each state to determine which programs are legitimate for certification. In some states, even this program is not necessary and the candidate can merely sit for, or “challenge” the exam. However, some potential employers may frown upon this practice and demand to see evidence of actual classroom or clinical experience.
  • Pass the CNA examination—both the written (or computer-based) and hands-on portions. Typically both portions must be taken in the same state to ensure continuity.
  • Apply to the state by filling out an application, submitting a photograph and paying the required fee. Some states have no fee for CNA applicants, and in many cases the hospital or nursing facility may be happy to pick up this cost to ensure their CNA is certified and doesn’t have to spend any more of his or her funds.


Many states accept reciprocal licenses. A CNA licensed in Oregon may be able to use his or her license to quickly earn an Alabama

CNA Schools