If you've been considering a career in healthcare, becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) can be an excellent start. This path offers numerous opportunities to make a difference in patients' lives, and it can also serve as a stepping stone to other healthcare professions. In this blog post, we will walk you through the steps on how to become a CNA in Virginia, discussing everything from the necessary requirements and the registration process for the CNA exam, to preparation strategies and certification steps.
In Virginia, the average CNA class costs $1,000-1,300 and is 4-12 weeks long. The exam costs $140 ($95 for skills and $45 for oral/written). Average starting salary depends where in Virginia you work, but is around $17-19/hr.
In the state of Virginia, aspiring CNAs must meet the following requirements:
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While it may vary based on the specific training program, commonly required items include:
After you've successfully completed your training, the next step is to register for the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) which was developed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. In Virginia, the exam is administered by Credentia CNA365. You can register online through Credentia’s website, or by calling their customer service line (866) 340-3555.
You’ll need to make a reservation at least 10 days before the test date. The exam fee in Virginia is $140 as of July 2023. Taking the oral or written exam only is $45 and taking the skills exam only is $95.
The CNA exam consists of two parts: a written (or oral) examination and a skills evaluation. The written test includes 70 multiple-choice questions. You may also take an Oral Exam instead if you have difficulty reading, which would consist of 60 multiple-choice questions and 10 reading comprehension/word recognition questions. You can take the Written (or Oral) exam from home or work through online proctoring.
The Skills test requires you to demonstrate a subset of the skills you learned during training. You will be asked to perform 5 randomly selected nurse aide skills while being observed by a Nurse Evaluator.
To prepare for the exam, consider the following strategies:
Once you pass the CNA exam, you will be eligible to be listed on the Virginia Nurse Aide Registry, which is managed by the Virginia Board of Nursing. Being listed on this registry is your official certification as a CNA. If you do not pass, you have 120 days from the start of your CNA program to complete the training and become certified. You also have 3 total attempts to pass each exam. If 120 days have passed or if you’ve failed 3 times, you must retake your CNA training program.
Remember, your certification needs to be renewed every two years. To renew, you must provide proof of having worked as a paid nursing assistant for at least 8 hours during the last 24 months.
Becoming a CNA is a rewarding and fulfilling career path. With the information provided in this blog post, you're now ready to start your journey towards becoming a CNA in Virginia. Good luck!
Athena is Co-founder and CEO of Dreambound.