Certified Nursing Assistant

How to Become a CNA in New York

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New York, or the Big Apple, holds an optimistic reputation. It is often called the city "where dreams are made of." Let's now discuss how your dream healthcare career in New York can become a reality.

Key Points

  • To become a CNA, you must be at least 18 years old, complete a state-approved training program, pass exams, and be listed on the Nurse Aide Registry.
  • CNA training includes 100 hours covering essential nursing skills, clinical experience, and state exam preparation.
  • CNAs in New York earn $22.13 per hour on average, with opportunities in various healthcare settings like hospitals and nursing homes.
  • To keep your CNA license active, work at least one 7-hour shift every 24 months at an approved employer in New York.

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What are the requirements to be a CNA in New York?

CNAs in New York have requirements to meet like in any other state. The government set these to ensure the high quality of services from our CNAs will remain. Let's now take a look at this requirement list:

  1. Age: The general rule is that you must be 18 years old to enroll in a CNA training program. Some training providers are accepting CNA trainees as young as 16 years old. 

  2. Education: A high school diploma or GED is an advantage but isn’t required.

  3. Background Check: Expect to submit a fingerprint for training or employment purposes. This is important since some criminal convictions may be ineligible for employment. 

  4. Health Requirements: As a CNA student, prepare to submit the following. One is an updated proof of immunization. The second is negative tuberculosis (TB) test. Third is passing a drug test. Some might ask for a physical examination to ensure you're capable of performing the tasks of a CNA.

  5. Training: Complete a state-approved CNA training program, which provides the necessary skills and knowledge for the role.

  6. Certification: Pass the state exams and get listed on the New York Nurse Aide Registry to become officially certified and eligible for employment.

Did you know there are other ways to be a CNA in New York? That's right! CNAs in other states can transfer their license here in NY! This is also called Reciprocity.

U.S. nursing graduates can also work as CNAs in NY without further training. If you fit this role, submitting a specific application form and a copy of your nursing diploma is enough.

RNs, LPNs, and Foreign-trained nurses are also welcome to work as CNAs in New York. They are more than qualified because of their extensive training in the field.

The CNA training program in New York

The CNA training in New York has classroom lectures and hands-on lab practice. Clinical experience will be a part of the program later on.

Every New York CNA student should receive at least 100 hours of training. You will spend 70 hours on your classroom and lab training. The remaining 30 hours are for supervised clinical experience. During your clinical experience, a New York state-licensed nurse will be supervising you.

Wondering what you will learn during your training? Here are the lessons to expect! CNA training programs in New York have 7 main topics. The following topics are:

  1. Introductory Curriculum

  2. Basic Nursing Skills 

  3. Personal Care Skills

  4. Mental Health and Social Service Needs 

  5. Care of Cognitively Impaired Residents 

  6. Basic Restorative Services 

  7. Resident's Rights

The classroom lectures will focus more on procedures and written instructions. This will guide you on how you can be successful during your labs, clinical, and state exams. Aim to focus even if you're still starting the program. This will be a great learning foundation during your whole training!

Where can I find CNA classes in New York? 

CNA courses in New York may range from 3 to 12 weeks in duration, with the exact length varying by the institution. The price of these classes can also differ.

When choosing your school, find the one that best suits your budget and needs. Consider the course length and location too. These factors can affect the amount of tuition you will pay for. The cost for CNA classes in New York can be up to $600, while others may charge up to $1,500.

Researching and comparing schools can be tiring. The good news is we can further assist you in discovering your perfect school! Check out Dreambound's extensive list of reputable New York State Approved Schools.

The CNA state exam in New York

You might feel overwhelmed about taking your state exams, and that's normal! Ease up and let us help you build your action plan. This section will talk about what you should expect from the CNA exam. You will also learn how to schedule your exam and when to get your CNA certification.

  • The Exam format: The New York CNA exam has two parts: a written (or oral) exam and a skills evaluation. The written exam has 60 multiple-choice questions. This will test your knowledge of nursing concepts, patient care, and the role of a CNA. 90 minutes is the time given to complete this test. ‍The clinical skills part will test your ability to perform tasks in a safe and effective manner. Keep in mind this is also a timed test. The skills exam lasts 30-40 minutes, depending on your assigned skills. You will have to perform five out of 22 essential skills at random to pass. 

  • Scheduling the exam: CNA students should take both parts of the exam within 2 years after graduating. If you're a first-time taker, you must register for both exam parts. The first step in scheduling your exam is to complete an application form and submit it to Prometric. Be careful in filling out your application form! If you will request an oral exam or accommodations, make sure to put it on this form. You will also choose where and when to take your test across the state. Accepted payments for the exam are through money orders or checks. They must be under your name, and once paid, they are non-transferable.

The fees for the exams are as follows:

- 1. Clinical Skills and Written exams (first-time tester): $115

- 2. Clinical Skills and Oral exams (first-time tester): $135

- 3. Clinical Skills Retest: $68

- 4. Written Retest: $57

- 5. Oral Retest: $67

- 6. Reciprocity/CNA From Another State and RNs and LPNs: $50

- 7. Duplicate Certificate: $15

- 8. Recertification (paid by employer): $40

Once approved, you will get an admission letter with important details about the exam. Bring this and 2 forms of valid IDs on the day of your exams. Make sure your IDs have pictures and signatures too!

If you will reschedule your exam, contact Prometric at least five business days ahead. Make sure to do this to avoid paying extra exam fees!

Obtaining your CNA certification 

Congratulations! In this stage, you're most likely done with the exam. After taking the exams, allow 10 business days for your certificate and wallet card to arrive in the mail.

You can also check the New York Nurse Aide Registry before your card arrives. There are cases where a candidate's name is not on the registry after passing. Other times, their certificate and wallet card haven't arrived after 10 business days. If this happens to you, contact the Nurse Aide Registry to know about your results.

Keep in mind that results should never come from a phone call. These are confidential!

If you happen not to pass your exam, don't worry! You will receive an official score report email within five business days of taking the exam. This will include feedback on your performance for each section of the exam. It will both focus on your strengths and areas where you can improve. In case you need to retake the exam, you will also receive information on how to do so. Remember, failure is a stepping stone to success!

Tips for passing the CNA state exam 

The road to success often comes from good preparation! Here are some tips and resources to help you ace your exams:

  • Review the Candidate Handbook: This handbook from Prometric includes a comprehensive list of skills and practice questions to answer. It also provides the outlines for each exam.

  • Use Online Resources: Answer a lot of practice tests, study guides, and flashcards. Repetition reinforces learning! 

  • Join Study Groups: You can also engage with peers who are also preparing for the exam. This can give you a supportive environment and opportunities to practice your skills.

  • Time Management: Sevelop a study plan to cover all the points of the exam. It's better to come prepared than sorry!

Working as a CNA in New York

The average starting hourly rate for CNAs in New York is around $16. After some time, seasoned CNAs can earn as much as $20 to $25! For annual wages, this can be around $30,000 to $40,000+! Remember that these are bound to increase due to the rising need for CNAs.

Work shifts are 8-hour shifts, usually for five days. Longer shifts, like three 12-hour shifts, are also offered if you prefer to have extra days off.

CNAs in New York can work at different places. Examples are nursing homes, hospitals, home healthcare agencies, and more. Some nursing homes even offer free training; the best part is you'll get paid! They will also pay for your state exams, making things easier for you.

License renewal and career advancement for CNAs in New York

Keeping your name in the registry makes you eligible to work as a CNA in New York. Remember that your certification is valid for two years! Maintain an active status by working for an approved employer for at least one 7-hour shift in 24 months.

‍Advanced training can help you enhance your skills and make you more valuable in the job market. This can also lead you to pursue a different career but still related to being a CNA.

There isn't a specific "advanced CNA" title, but you can get extra certifications in other areas. Here are some examples:

  • Phlebotomy Technician (CPT): you may take this course to learn more about drawing blood. Phlebotomists are important for blood tests, transfusions, donations, and research!  

  • EKG Technician (CET): learn how to track and interpret heart rhythms using an EKG machine. This skill is valuable, especially if you have patients with heart problems. 

  • Medication Aide (CMA): CNAs can get certified in administering medication too! This work is usually under the supervision of a nurse. 

  • Patient Care Technician (PCT): PCTs have more knowledge in advanced patient care. This training is perfect for you if you want to level up your patient care skills. PCTs are also knowledgeable about EKG and Phlebotomy. 

  • Home Health Aide (HHA): an HHA training focuses on teaching how to care for patients in their homes. 

Important Note: Certifications above may have varying costs and equipment. Be sure to research the requirements before pursuing one!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How to become a CNA in New York?

To become a CNA in New York, you need to meet specific requirements: be at least 18 years old (some programs accept 16-year-olds), complete a state-approved CNA training program which includes classroom, lab, and clinical experience, pass the state exams, and get listed on the New York Nurse Aide Registry to obtain certification.

How long does it take to be a CNA in NYC?

The duration to become a CNA in New York City varies. Typically, CNA training programs range from 3 to 12 weeks. This includes both classroom learning and hands-on clinical practice to prepare you for the state exams.

How much does CNA training cost in NY?

The cost of CNA training in New York varies by institution. On average, you can expect to pay between $600 to $1,500 for your training. Some nursing homes may offer free training programs, which can be a cost-effective option.

How much do CNAs make in NY?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics as of May 2023, CNAs in New York earn an average of $46,020 annually or $22.13 per hour. The salary can increase with experience and additional certifications.

How do I make my CNA license active in NY?

To keep your CNA license active in New York, you must work for an approved employer for at least one 7-hour shift within a 24-month period. This ensures your certification remains valid and allows you to continue working as a CNA in the state.


It feels good when your passion can also be your career. For our aspirant CNAs in New York, we hope this blog has helped you arrive at a decision! The steps to complete may be a lot, but you will be well on your way to joining this essential workforce. Being a CNA can also be the door to more opportunities to advance your skills and career prospects. Take your time to explore your options, don't rush! Everything important in life takes time.

Dreambound's extensive guides dig into the specific requirements and challenges that are different for each city in the US. Check out some of our other guides below:

Contemplating a transition in your career or exploring various professional paths? Dreambound has written comprehensive guides on nearly every type of program to aid you in your decision.

Alyssa Jane
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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