Certified Nursing Assistant

How to Become a CNA in Massachusetts

Alyssa Jane
May 23, 2023

Massachusetts is popular for its rich history. It has a vibrant culture, advanced education, and technology. Massachusetts is also known for cutting-edge research about medicine and healthcare! Let's see how you can build your career in this great city!

What are the requirements to be a CNA in Massachusetts? 

CNAs in Massachusetts have to meet certain requirements before they can practice. These are set by the MA Department of Public Health to ensure the quality service CNAs can give. It's also to help guarantee the safety of future clients. Here are the main requirements:

  1. Be at least 16 years old: Schools are only accepting students that meet this age. A high school diploma is not required! CNA training providers may need you to take an assessment test instead of looking for a diploma.
  2. Be in good physical health: Aspiring CNAs should present a current negative TB test and proof of immunizations. You should prepare to undergo a physical exam, too, to prove further you're healthy enough.
  3. Pass a state criminal background check: The length of getting a background check may vary. You should first secure a background form called the CORI and fill it out. This form aims to know if a person has any criminal record existing. CNAs need to do this to ensure the safety of the vulnerable people they serve. The next step is to get your fingerprints taken. You can do this at a local police station or another authorized location. Submit these at the MA Office of Public Safety and wait for the results.  
  4. Certified program: Thrive and finish a state-approved CNA training program. 
  5. Pass the state exams and get listed on the Massachusetts Nurse Aide Registry! 

The CNA training program in Massachusetts

If you opt for the accelerated option, the CNA classes in MA typically span a duration of 3-4 weeks. However, the average length of a typical class ranges from 6 to 15 weeks, which might extend the time required.

Tuition costs are anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000. This can vary due to the time of the classes and the class environment. Inclusions of the tuition can vary too. Make sure to inquire with your training provider if there are other future expenses to know. 

A typical amount of training is 75 hours of lectures and 25 hours of clinical experience. Every CNA student should receive these components for training. 

Training waivers and reciprocity are possible in Massachusetts. You can apply for a waiver if you finished your CNA training program in another state. Students who completed a clinical course in an approved School of Nursing can also apply. You can apply through the Nurse Aide Registry program, which oversees all CNAs in the state.

Subject areas for your CNA class may focus on different aspects. Study these topics in your training, as questions may appear about these on your state exams too! 

  • Aging Process and Restorative Care 
  • Infection Control 
  • Basic Nursing Skills 
  • Mental Health 
  • Care Impaired 
  • Personal Care 
  • Communication 
  • Resident Rights 
  • Data Collection 
  • Role and Responsibility 
  • Disease Process 
  • Safety

Where can I find CNA classes in Massachusetts? 

If you're looking for classes now, you're in luck! Dreambound offers a database of CNA training programs across various cities in Massachusetts. This includes Boston, Worcester, Springfield, and more! Worry no more and compare schools with convenience. Our database is user-friendly, and you can select filters to narrow down your search. 

Training providers on our database are all accredited by the state. They offer hybrid, in-person, and online programs, which provide flexibility to aspiring CNAs. With a wide range of options available, you can select the program that suits your needs. Let us help you embark on your journey to becoming a CNA in Massachusetts!

The CNA State Exam in Massachusetts

The CNA exam in Massachusetts has two portions: A knowledge test and a skills test. Let's both discuss what you should expect for both parts of the exam. 

The knowledge test has 60 questions and has a time limit of 60 minutes to complete. 76% and above is the passing score for this part of the exam.

The skills test is an essential part of your exam. This will give you a chance to prove your skills in actual-like scenarios with patients. You will perform three or four tasks out of the 19 skills in 30 minutes. There are key steps in each skill that you must perform with precision to pass. Attentive listening is crucial for you to pass this part!  

As of August 2022, the fees for the exam are as follows: 

Exam Type
Knowledge Exam


Oral Knowledge Exam


Skill Test


How do I register for a CNA exam in Massachusetts?

All test takers have to register on Massachusetts CNA TMU©. After your initial registration, you are now able to schedule and pay for your exams. 

Training providers handle your record with your completion hours and date. You should receive an email and text message saying that you're eligible to schedule a test date. Some training providers may have pre-paid the testing fees for their students. Confirm with your instructor if that applies to you before scheduling the exam. 

The options for a virtual knowledge test and an oral exam are available as well. Make sure to double-check all your selected preferences before paying!

Remember your email and password! You will need access to your account for other things, too, such as rescheduling. You may reschedule up to one full business day before your scheduled test date. Your test confirmation letter is also available on your account and viewable anytime. Read this letter as it contains policies, state-specific instructions, and more!

On the day of your exam, remember these things to have a smooth testing journey! 

1. Arrive early! - Be at the site 20 to 30 minutes before the start of your exam. If you chose the virtual knowledge test, sign in 10 to 20 minutes before the confirmed test time. 

2. Wear presentable clothes - There is no mandatory uniform to wear for test takers. The suggested attire is a scrub suit, closed-toed shoes, and tie your hair for a neat look. 

3. Bring IDs! - All test takers should bring two original forms of IDs. Both should have a signature or fingerprint and one bearing a picture of you

For a list of valid IDs accepted for the state exams, refer to the MA Nurse Aide Candidate Handbook.  

How do I get my CNA certification in Massachusetts?

This is the moment of truth! Your test scores will be available on your TMU© account after a few weeks. Rest assured; all test scores are double-checked and scored by D&SDT-Headmaster.  

In Massachusetts, your CNA training does not expire. Don't lose hope if you aren't able to pass the exams right away! You can retake the knowledge exams up to 4 times. For the skills exam, you have 3 chances to pass them. If in case you have taken up all these chances already, you still have a fighting chance! You must first undergo training again to be eligible to take the exams. 

Get the chance to verify your license here. According to the MA state government, you should expect to wait at least three weeks for the results. 

It is also very important to note that D&SDT-Headmaster does not mail test results letters! All test results are available online on your TMU© account and on the license verification site.

Working as a CNA in Massachusetts

CNAs are much in demand wherever you go. In Massachusetts, how much are CNAs making? Let's take a look.  

We researched different reliable employment websites to see how much CNAs make in MA. CNAs in MA are making $24 on average. The lower rates are usually around $15-$17, while the tenured CNAs are making around $33 an hour. 

With these rates, Massachusetts ranks high when it comes to CNA salaries. It is in the 7th spot out of the 50 states nationwide. The average annual income of CNAs in MA is around $37,000 to $40,000 plus, but there are CNAs making well over $50,000! 

Job opportunities are plentiful for CNAs in MA. A good example would be these CNA jobs showcasing the expected salary, benefits, and more!  

CNA students are also employable while studying. Federal and State regulations permit healthcare facilities to hire students for 120 days. This is the maximum period for a CNA student to get their license while staying employed. Only successful exam passers may continue employment and carry out responsibilities as CNAs.

License Renewal and Career Advancement for CNAs in Massachusetts

CNAs keep their eligibility to work as a nurse aide by renewing their status every 24 months. You need to have worked for at least eight consecutive hours as a paid nurse aide. This means providing nursing or nursing-related services within the past 24 months. Be careful with your actions too! Any misconduct restrictions on the Registry may affect your eligibility for renewal.

Written proof of employment is a must. This form should have the signature of your employer to be valid. According to the American Red Cross, renewal of a license is free! After making sure that the form is complete, mail it to the MA Nurse Aide Registry and await confirmation.

Remember to stay updated and fulfill the criteria to continue your career as a nurse aide. If you're thinking of sprucing up your career in the healthcare field, let us give you some ideas to try! 

In Massachusetts, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) have various career advancement opportunities to explore. Some popular career advancements for CNAs in MA include:

  1. Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN): Many CNAs choose to further their education to be LPNs! LPNs have extra responsibilities. They can administer medications, perform advanced nursing tasks, and more.
  2. Registered Nurse (RN): Becoming an RN is a common path for CNAs to advance in the nursing profession. RNs have a higher level of education and training. This allows them to provide more complex medical care. They can supervise other healthcare professionals and pursue specialized areas of nursing.
  3. Nurse Manager/Supervisor: CNAs can have roles such as nurse manager or supervisor. They oversee and coordinate the daily operations of nursing units or healthcare facilities. These positions involve leadership, decision-making, and administrative responsibilities.
  4. Home Health Aide (HHA): Some CNAs transition into home health aide roles. Providing personal care and help to patients in their homes. HHAs work with patients who need long-term care or have specific medical needs.
  5. Specialized Areas: CNAs can choose to specialize in specific areas of healthcare! You can choose from geriatrics, pediatrics, oncology, or critical care. This is perfect if you prefer providing specialized care to specific patient populations.

By gaining extra knowledge and experience, CNAs can propel their careers! It's important to note that career advancements may need training beyond CNA certification.


It may seem like a long journey but believe in yourself and your abilities. You have the potential to achieve great things! Now you know the steps on how you can become a CNA in Massachusetts. We hope this blog has given you more guidance and clarity. Enjoy the process and celebrate your progress along the way!

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Written by
Alyssa Jane

Alyssa Jane is part of the customer success team at Dreambound. She works with students, training providers, and employers, helping them have a smooth customer journey. She is also an ESL tutor and Licensed Psychometrician. She is fond of traveling, photography, and discovering new restaurants.

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