Certified Nursing Assistant

How to become a CNA in Texas

Venice Nuyda
|
September 1, 2022
A CNA assisting an elderly woman

Although Certified Nurse Aides can be found all over the country, the process to become one is different for every state. Below is a guide on how to become a CNA in Texas.

In Texas, the average CNA class costs $1020 and is 4 weeks long. The exam costs $125 ($135 if taking orally or in Spanish). Average starting salary ranges based on where in the state you are, but is around $13-15/hour.

What does a CNA do?

Certified Nurse Aides, also known as Certified Nursing Assistants or CNAs, provide direct care to residents in assisted living facilities, nursing homes, hospitals, and even at home. CNAs perform various patient care tasks such as assisting in daily routines, feeding, medication monitoring, and even emotional support. They do not assist in administering medicine. 

CNA is a great gateway if you want to venture into the medical field and you don’t know where to start. The high demand for CNAs in Texas nearly guarantees job security and can also give you time and opportunity to advance your skills further.

Where does a CNA work?

CNAs work in a wide variety of workplaces. Nursing homes are the most popular workplaces for CNAs in Texas. Hospitals are also common (and typically pay more), although they typically require at least 6 months of work experience. 

Assisted living facilities and home health are the next most common. CNA licenses are not required for either of these positions—so you can start working there before or during training—but they may not pay as highly. 

Staffing agencies are growing in popularity and place CNAs to work at any of the above facility types. Pay is typically highest at a staffing agency, but comes with less predictability. Your work location, manager, coworkers, and hours may change frequently. Travel nursing agencies are a type of staffing agency that places you to work at a facility outside of your city. Travel nursing agencies often pay even more and typically provide a housing or relocation stipend. 

Less common are clinics and adult daycare centers, although they can still be great places to work at. For more information on which workplace would suit you more, click here.  

What are the requirements to become a CNA in Texas?

  • Complete state-recognized training - Texas CNA programs are at least 100 hours long: 60 hours of class lecture and 40 hours of clinical skills training. The first portion of the class, often called the “theory” portion, can be done online, but not every school offers online training. The second portion, often called “clinicals,” must be done in person at a nursing home. For more information, click this page and check under “NATCEP Requirements.”
  • Pass a background check - All CNA schools run a background check before a student starts class. This is because clinicals are done at nursing homes, and nursing homes require all of their workers to pass a background check. To start a CNA class, candidates can’t have any felonies in the past 5 years. Misdemeanors involving theft or assault are also disqualifying. 
    Employers generally follow the same requirements, but some may have different requirements. For example, some employers may not want candidates with any felonies at all, and others require drug tests before hiring. Employers also can’t hire anyone on the Texas Employee Misconduct Registry. This registry checks for different things than the background checks run by different schools and employers. 
  • Have required documents - Candidate must either have Social Security Card (if a resident of the United States) or an ITIN Number (if not a resident of the United States). High School Diplomas/GED are not usually required, but some CNA schools in Texas look for them. Instead, most schools require candidates to take an 8th grade math/reading test. This may be done through Wonderlic, or the school may have its own test. Some schools may require other documents as well, including: a TB test, state ID, immunization records, or birth certificate.
  • Pass the exam - In Texas, CNA trainees can work for four months before needing to pass the state exam. The state exam is administered by Prometric and includes two parts, one for written knowledge and one for practical skills. The written portion is a multiple choice test. In the skills portion, a proctor gives you a few different procedures that you will need to demonstrate how to do.

For more information on various kinds of requirements and concerns, visit the Texas State and Federal requirements page.

Where can I find CNA classes in Texas?

Here are some state-approved CNA classes within Texas suggested by Dreambound in Houston, Austin, Beaumont, Dallas/Forth Worth, El Paso, McAllen, and San Antonio. You can also view upcoming CNA class dates via those links.

To find more state-approved CNA classes, visit the Texas Health and Human Services NAR Approved Programs here

What do I need to buy for class?

Requirements vary for each school in Texas. Schools generally don’t provide uniforms, books, shoes, textbooks, stethoscopes, or BP cuffs, so you may need to pay for those out of pocket. However, some schools package everything in, so you might make a one-time payment together with the tuition fee. 

CNA classes in Texas generally don’t require COVID vaccinations. However, clinical sites may require swab tests when clinicals start. The student doesn’t have to be vaccinated but must pass the COVID test to complete clinicals. 

However, once you get your certificate and look for employment, you must have proof of COVID vaccination or a letter of exemption (for medical or religious reasons). This is required by federal law. Most employers accept a signed letter from your religious leader or doctor, but some have more strict requirements.

How do I register for a CNA exam? 

After you complete your 100-hour CNA training, your school will register you for the state exam. Students can’t apply without the endorsement from their school that they completed the class. The Texas CNA state exam costs $125. If you want to take the multiple-choice portion of the exam orally or in Spanish, the exam costs $135. 

After your school endorses you, you will then log in and fill out the application on the Prometric website. For more information check the “Registration and Scheduling” on the Texas Nurse Aide Prometric page.

If you have any issues or need to reschedule your exam, you can contact Prometric at:

Phone: 800.488.5787

E-mail: [email protected]

You can take the exam up to 3 times. If you are not able to pass within 3 tries, you will need to retake your CNA class. Each retake costs $35 for the written portion ($45 if oral/Spanish) and $90 for the clinical portion.

How do I prepare for my CNA exam?

Taking the CNA exam might be a little intimidating, but all of our Texas CNAs have been through the exam as well. Your teacher will provide you with a lot of different resources to prepare for the exam. The CNA Training Institute, a school in Houston, shared tips on how to ace your CNA exams over here. Prometric also prepared a guide for both written and clinical readiness exams over here. We also recommend checking out Youtube videos to study for the skills portion of the exam, although be sure to look for Texas-specific videos posted after 2020. Each state has a different curriculum and Prometric only started administering the Texas state exam on 9/1/2020.

How do I get my CNA certification?

After you pass your exam, you will receive your certificate 4-6 weeks later. Your license is valid for 2 years. To renew your license, your employer will need to submit a form saying that you performed paid work as a CNA. You will also need to complete 24 hours of in-service education, which can be done online and for free through Texas Health & Human Services. Your CNA school or employer may offer training to satisfy this requirement as well. 

If your license expires, you will need to request a retest for nurse aides with expired status through this form. For instructions on how to retake the test, go to the Texas Health and Human Services Request for a Retest for Nurse Aides with Expired Status here.

If you’re licensed through another state and want to transfer your license to Texas, send this application form to the Texas Nurse Aide registry via email at [email protected] If you want to send hard copies for your registration, you can also fax them to (512) 438-2052 or mail them to:

Nurse Aide Registry

P.O. Box 149030 MC E-414

Austin, TX 78714-9030

How do I get a job as a CNA? 

In Texas, you are legally allowed to work for up to four months before you need to pass the state exam. To check for your current CNA licensure status, go to the nurse aide registry here

You can start applying to different CNA job listings while you’re in class, although some employers may only want to hire CNAs who have already passed their exams. Job boards such as Indeed, Monster, and Ziprecruiter constantly post listings for CNAs. You can also work at the facility where your clinicals were, and your CNA school will have employers it recommends to students. 

Another way to get employed is through the Dreambound Candidate Portal offered by Dreambound, where hospitals, nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and home health agencies are actively hiring. Fill out your application here.

What can I do after becoming a CNA?

One of the great things about being a CNA is that the career path options are endless. Some CNAs switch over to a hospital or staffing agency after working at a nursing home for 6 months. Others enroll in additional training as a Medication Aide, Medical Assistant, Phlebotomy Technician, or Patient Care Technician. CNAs may also enroll in classes to become a Licensed Vocational Nurse or Registered Nurse—your CNA teacher can help write a recommendation letter for you to get into nursing school. These careers can grow up to 12% within the next 5-7 years since Texas has an estimated shortage of 60,000 nurses.

CNA is not required for any of the above licenses other than Patient Care Technician and Medication Aide, but working as a CNA can help you get your feet wet and get your foot in the door into a facility you like. And, if you work at a facility for some time, your employer may help pay for your other classes. CNAs can also go on to work in administrative positions such as staffing coordinators, Administrators (additional training required), or HR. Some Dreambound graduates are even working on starting their own CNA school!

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