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How to become a CNA in Virginia (2024)

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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.

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Key Points

  • 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.

Requirements to Become a CNA in Virginia

In the state of Virginia, aspiring CNAs must meet the following requirements:

  • Education: Complete a state-approved nursing assistant training program. Many programs typically require a high school diploma or GED, but many do not as well.

  • Age: You must be at least 16 years old.

  • Background Check: You must pass a criminal background check. You must not have any convictions on your record that would prevent you from being eligible as a nurse aide.

  • Light duty: You must not be on restricted activity or light duty due to medical reasons; you must be able to complete all portions of the skills evaluation.

  • Health Screening: You must pass a health examination, which includes a TB test.

  • Training: The Virginia Board of Nurs

  • ing requires CNAs to complete at least 120 hours of training, including both classroom instruction and clinical experience.

Where can I find CNA classes in Virginia?

You can view classes by city in Richmond Virginia Beach

Or, search by zip code in Virginia.

What Do I Need to Buy for Class?

While it may vary based on the specific training program, commonly required items include:

  • Uniforms (usually white)

  • Stethoscope and blood pressure cuff

  • Notebooks, pens, and highlighters for note-taking

  • Specific textbooks required by your program

Registering for the CNA Exam in Virginia

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.

Preparing for the CNA Exam

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:

  • Review Class Materials: Review your notes, textbooks, and any other materials provided during your training.

  • Practice Skills: Find a study partner and practice the clinical skills you'll be tested on.

  • Take Practice Tests: Credentia and other online resources offer practice tests that can help you get familiar with the format and types of questions on the written exam. Be sure to check that the practice tests are specific to Credentia, as Virginia used to offer exams through another testing provider called Pearson VUE. You can find some practice questions on the Credentia candidate handbook.

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Getting Your CNA Certification in Virginia

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

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

In Virginia, it typically takes between 4 to 12 weeks to become a CNA. This includes completing a state-approved training program, which generally consists of at least 120 hours of classroom and clinical instruction. After the training, candidates must pass the state competency exam to receive certification.

How much are CNAs paid in Virginia?

The average starting salary for CNAs in Virginia depends on the specific location, with urban areas generally offering higher wages. On average, entry-level CNAs earn between $17 and $19 per hour. This rate can vary based on factors such as the type of healthcare facility and the local cost of living.

Can you work as a CNA without being certified in Virginia?

No, you cannot work as a CNA without being certified in Virginia. You must complete a state-approved training program and pass the state competency exam to obtain certification before working as a CNA.

Final Thoughts

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!

If you're exploring options in this field in various locations, Dreambound's extensive guides are a great resource. We've got detailed insights for numerous cities. check out some additional guides below:

If you're exploring various professional paths, Dreambound has in-depth guides to help assist you. Explore a few of these resources below.

Athena Kan
Written by
Athena Kan

Athena is Co-founder and CEO of Dreambound.

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