CNA License Requirements

Are you ready to make a difference in people's lives? Learn about the CNA license requirements and kickstart your healthcare journey today!
CNA License Requirements

Are you interested in becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)? If so, you will need to start by making sure you meet the basic requirements for CNA licensure. These requirements can vary from state to state, but generally, the requirements are as follows.

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  1. Age
  2. Education
  3. Screening


The standard minimum age for those who wish to apply for a CNA license is between 16 to 18 years old. Flexible schedules as a CNA allow students to work part time while finishing their high school education and continuing their education on to a community or four year university.

While some states do allow licensure as early as 16 years of age, certain employers may not hire you until you are at least 18. This is important to keep in mind as your CNA license may be suspended if you do not meet minimum employment requirements for maintaining your license in your state.


Most states require CNA license applicants to have completed high school and received a diploma, or alternatively have completed their GED. The exception is states that allow CNA licensure at 16, which require applicants to have completed a minimum of eight years of grade school.

While not required, if you are still in high school and want to become a CNA, try to take courses that will help you when you begin your CNA training program such as biology, chemistry, human anatomy and physiology, and algebra or higher-level math courses. Some high schools even have a CNA training program - be sure to find out more details about yours.


In order to work in any area of nursing, you will need to have a clean record. You will eventually be screened to ensure you are free of criminal convictions, chemical dependency and drug abuse, mental health conditions, and medical conditions that may hinder your ability to perform your job.

Criminal convictions include misdemeanors and felonies, and you may have convictions regardless of whether you have spent time in jail. Criminal convictions will show up on your fingerprint check even if it has been expunged, sealed, dismissed, dropped, or closed. This is why it's important to reveal any convictions you have when asked.

Minor violations, such as traffic tickets, citations, or juvenile offenses may not disqualify you from getting your license. Violations that happened seven to ten years prior may also be forgiven if you have had a clean record ever since.

Although you may be able to get your CNA license with some criminal convictions on your record, you may not be able to gain employment in certain medical settings because of those convictions.

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