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Top 11 Nurse Aide Certifications

This article provides an overview of the best nurse aide certifications available, helping readers make an informed decision about the best training program for their needs.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications for nurse aides are important because they demonstrate to employers that the individual has achieved a certain level of proficiency in their field. They also provide proof that the individual has received specialized training, which can be an attractive quality for employers. Certifications can help nurse aides stand out from other applicants and make them more competitive in the job market. Additionally, certifications can open up new opportunities for advancement within a facility or organization. Finally, certifications provide a sense of accomplishment and pride to those who have earned them.

This article reviews the top certifications for Nurse Aides and explains how they can contribute to a nurse aide's career development.

What are Nurse Aide Certifications?

Nurse aide certification is a credential that is earned by individuals who have completed an approved nursing assistant training program and passed the necessary competency exams. The certification indicates that the individual has been trained and tested in accordance with state-mandated standards and is qualified to provide basic care to patients in healthcare settings. Nurse aides can work in hospitals, long-term care facilities, home health agencies, and other healthcare environments under the supervision of a licensed nurse.

Having nurse aide certification can be beneficial for those seeking employment in the healthcare field. It demonstrates that an individual has achieved a certain level of knowledge and skills needed to provide safe, quality patient care. Employers are more likely to hire certified nurse aides since they have already gone through the process of becoming certified. This can also lead to higher pay as employers may view certified nurses as more qualified than those without it. Additionally, having certification may open up new job opportunities or advancement within existing positions.

Pro tip: When considering nurse aide certification, make sure to research the requirements and regulations in your state, as they can vary from place to place. Additionally, it’s important to confirm that the certification program you are interested in is accredited and meets all necessary standards.

Related: What does a Nurse Aide do?

Top 11 Nurse Aide Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Nurse Aides today.

1. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

A Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is a healthcare professional who works under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). The CNA provides basic patient care, such as bathing, dressing and feeding, as well as taking vital signs and assisting with medical procedures. CNAs also provide emotional support to patients and families.

In order to become a CNA, one must complete an approved training program and pass the state certification exam. Training programs vary in length from state to state, but typically take between 4-12 weeks to complete. The cost for training also varies by location, but is usually around $1,000-$2,000. After completing the training program, one must pass the state certification exam in order to become a CNA. Upon passing the exam, one will receive their CNA license which is valid for two years before it must be renewed.

2. Certified Medication Aide (CMA)

Certified Medication Aide (CMA) is a certification program that allows individuals to assist with the administration of medications in long-term care facilities, such as nursing homes and assisted living centers. The CMA program requires applicants to complete an approved training program and pass a competency exam.

The length of the training program varies by state, but typically takes between 40-60 hours to complete. Training programs are offered through community colleges, vocational schools, and other organizations. The cost of the training program also varies by state and provider, but generally ranges from $500-$1,000.

Once the training is completed, applicants must take a competency exam administered by their state’s Board of Nursing or Department of Health. The cost for the exam also varies by state, but typically ranges from $50-$100. Applicants must pass the exam with at least 80% accuracy in order to receive their CMA certification.

Once certified, CMAs can work in long-term care facilities under the supervision of a registered nurse or licensed practical nurse. CMAs are responsible for administering medications according to a physician’s orders and providing medication education to residents and families.

3. Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA)

A Certified Home Health Aide (CHHA) is a professional who provides personal care and assistance to individuals in their own homes. CHHAs are trained to provide basic medical care, such as taking vital signs, providing medication reminders, giving simple wound care, and helping with activities of daily living, such as bathing and dressing. They also provide emotional support and companionship to their clients.

It typically takes between two weeks and three months to become a CHHA depending on the state requirements. To become a CHHA, you must complete an approved training program that includes classroom instruction and hands-on clinical experience. Training programs can be found through community colleges, vocational schools or home health agencies. After completing the training program, you must pass a competency exam administered by your state’s department of health or other designated agency in order to become certified.

The cost of becoming a CHHA varies depending on the training program chosen and may include tuition fees for coursework as well as any necessary registration or certification fees.

4. Certified Nursing Assistant-Advanced (CNAA)

A Certified Nursing Assistant-Advanced (CNAA) is a specialized certification for nursing assistants who wish to further their education and career. It is an advanced level of certification that requires additional training and experience beyond the basic requirements for becoming a certified nursing assistant. The CNAA certification program is offered by the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA).

To become certified as a CNAA, applicants must first complete a state-approved CNA training program and pass the national CNA exam. After completing the CNA program, applicants must then complete an additional 40 hours of advanced training in order to qualify for the CNAA certification. This advanced training covers topics such as communication skills, patient care, infection control, medical terminology, and more.

The cost of obtaining a CNAA certification varies depending on where you live and which institution you choose to take your courses from. Generally speaking, it can cost anywhere from $400-$1,000 USD to become certified as a CNAA. Additionally, some states may require applicants to pay an additional fee for their licensing exam.

Once all prerequisites have been met and the necessary fees have been paid, applicants can take the CNAA exam at any NAHCA-certified testing center in their area. The exam consists of multiple choice questions covering topics such as patient safety, infection control, communication skills, medical terminology, and more. Once applicants successfully pass this exam they will be awarded with their official CNAA certificate and can begin working as an Advanced Certified Nursing Assistant (ACNA).

5. Certified Nurse Aide (CNA)

A Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) is a healthcare professional who provides basic care for patients in a variety of settings, such as nursing homes, hospitals, and long-term care facilities. CNAs are responsible for providing basic patient care services including bathing, dressing, grooming, feeding, and transporting patients. They also take vital signs and record patient information.

In order to become certified as a CNA, one must complete an approved training program and pass the state competency exam. The length of the training program varies by state but typically takes between two to six weeks to complete. The cost of the training program also varies by state but can range from $500-$1000 depending on the type of program chosen. After completing the training program and passing the competency exam, one will receive their CNA certification which is valid for two years in most states.

6. Basic Nursing Assistant (BNA)

Basic Nursing Assistant (BNA) is a certification program that provides individuals with the knowledge and skills necessary to become a nursing assistant in a healthcare setting. The BNA program typically takes about 8-12 weeks to complete, depending on the institution offering the program. To get certified as a Basic Nursing Assistant, you must complete an approved program from an accredited institution, pass the state’s competency exam, and meet any other requirements set by your state.

The cost of becoming certified as a Basic Nursing Assistant varies depending on where you take the course and which materials you purchase. Generally speaking, the cost of tuition for an 8-12 week BNA program can range anywhere from $500-$1,000. Additional costs may include books and study materials, background checks, physical exams, drug tests, and state licensing fees.

7. Advanced Nursing Assistant (ANA)

Advanced Nursing Assistant (ANA) is a type of certification for those who wish to work in the healthcare industry. ANA certification is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a higher level of knowledge and skill in providing patient care.

To become an Advanced Nursing Assistant, you must first complete a nursing assistant program or equivalent training approved by the state board of nursing. This typically includes completing at least 75 hours of classroom instruction and clinical experience, as well as passing a competency exam. Once you have completed the program, you can apply for ANA certification through the National Association of Health Care Assistants (NAHCA).

The cost of ANA certification varies depending on the program you choose, but can range from $500-$1000. It takes approximately 6-12 months to complete the program and receive your certification.

Once certified, you will be able to provide advanced care services such as administering medications, assisting with medical procedures, monitoring vital signs, and providing patient education. You may also be eligible for additional certifications or specializations depending on your state’s regulations.

8. Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA)

Geriatric Nursing Assistants (GNAs) are healthcare professionals who provide direct care to elderly patients in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and other long-term care settings. They help elderly individuals with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming, and toileting; they also monitor vital signs and administer medications. GNAs may also provide emotional support and companionship to their patients.

It typically takes about three months to complete a GNA program. Most programs include classroom instruction, lab work, and clinical experience in a health care setting. To become a GNA, you must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. You must also pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program exam in order to receive certification.

The cost of GNA training varies depending on the program you choose. Generally speaking, it can range from $750-$2,000 for tuition and fees. Some programs may offer financial aid or scholarships to help cover the cost of tuition.

9. Patient Care Technician (PCT)

Patient Care Technician (PCT) is a type of healthcare worker who provides basic medical care to patients in a variety of settings, including hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care facilities. PCTs typically work under the supervision of registered nurses or licensed practical nurses. The duties of a PCT include taking vital signs, assisting with activities of daily living such as bathing and dressing, providing bedside care and comfort measures, collecting specimens for lab testing, and performing basic diagnostic tests.

It typically takes about one year to complete the education and training requirements for becoming a Patient Care Technician. Most programs require completion of an accredited program that includes classes in anatomy and physiology, medical terminology, patient safety procedures, pharmacology, nutrition, infection control practices, and clinical skills. Some programs may also include courses in psychology or sociology.

To become a PCT you must have either a high school diploma or GED equivalent. You may also need to pass an exam administered by the National Healthcareer Association (NHA). Additionally some states may require certification or licensure before you can practice as a PCT.

The cost to become certified as a Patient Care Technician varies depending on the program you choose but can range from $500 - $2,000 or more depending on the length of the program and additional fees associated with it.

10. Long Term Care Nurse Aide (LTCNA)

Long Term Care Nurse Aide (LTCNA) is a certification program for individuals who have completed an approved training program in the care of elderly, disabled, and chronically ill individuals. The LTCNA certification is designed to provide assurance that the individual has met the minimum standards of knowledge and skill to provide safe and effective care.

The length of the program varies depending on the state but typically takes between six to twelve weeks to complete. During this time, students will learn about medical terminology, patient rights, nutrition and hydration needs, infection control procedures, communication techniques, and more.

To become certified as a Long Term Care Nurse Aide (LTCNA), you must complete an approved training program that meets state requirements. You will also need to pass a written exam as well as a skills assessment test. In some states, you may also be required to pass a criminal background check before being eligible for certification.

The cost of the program varies depending on where you take it and what type of training you receive. Generally speaking, most programs range from $500-$1000 in total cost including tuition fees and any additional materials needed for completion of the coursework.

11. Home Health Aide/Personal Care Aide/Homemaker-Home Health Aide (HHA/PCA/HHA).

Home Health Aide (HHA), Personal Care Aide (PCA), and Homemaker-Home Health Aide (HHA) are all different types of health care workers who provide assistance to individuals in their homes. They help with activities of daily living such as bathing, dressing, grooming, meal preparation, light housekeeping, errands, and companionship. HHAs may also provide basic medical care such as taking vital signs and providing medication reminders. PCAs may perform more specialized tasks such as assisting with physical therapy exercises or providing assistance with mobility.

It typically takes about four weeks to complete the necessary training for an HHA or PCA certification. This includes completing a minimum number of hours of classroom instruction and hands-on clinical training. In some states, additional requirements may be needed to become certified.

To get an HHA or PCA certification, you must contact your state’s health department or licensing board to find out what specific requirements you need to meet in order to be eligible for certification. You will also need to pass a criminal background check before being certified.

The cost of obtaining an HHA or PCA certification varies by state but can range from $100-$500 depending on the type of training required and any additional fees associated with the process.

Do You Really Need a Nurse Aide Certificate?

Yes, having a Nurse Aide Certificate is essential if you want to become a certified nursing assistant. This certificate is an important way for employers to assess the qualifications of potential employees and determine whether or not they are suitable for the job. It is also necessary for those who wish to further their education in the nursing field, as it provides proof that they have completed an approved program and passed a state-mandated exam.

Without a Nurse Aide Certificate, you may find that you are unable to secure employment in the field of nursing. Employers will often require applicants to have this certification before considering them for a position, so it is important that you obtain your certificate if you plan on pursuing a career in the medical industry. Additionally, having the certificate can help open doors to higher-paying positions and provide access to more advanced training opportunities.

Finally, having a Nurse Aide Certificate can give you peace of mind knowing that you have completed an approved program and passed all necessary exams. This can be extremely helpful when applying for jobs or furthering your education in the medical field. With this certification, you can feel confident that you possess the qualifications needed to succeed in your chosen career path.

Related: Nurse Aide Resume Examples

FAQs About Nurse Aide Certifications

Q1: How do I become a certified nurse aide?

A1: To become a certified nurse aide, you must complete an approved training program and pass the competency evaluation examination. Each state has different requirements for certification, so be sure to check with your state board of nursing for specific details.

Q2: How long does it take to get certified as a nurse aide?

A2: The amount of time it takes to become certified as a nurse aide depends on the individual's circumstances. Generally, it takes anywhere from 4-12 weeks of classroom and clinical instruction to complete the necessary training program.

Q3: What is the cost of becoming a certified nurse aide?

A3: The cost of becoming a certified nurse aide varies depending on the type of program and its length. Generally, programs range from $400-$2000. Additionally, there may be additional fees associated with taking and passing the competency evaluation examination.

Q4: Are there any online options for becoming a certified nurse aide?

A4: Yes, some states offer online courses that can be used towards obtaining certification as a nurse aide. However, these courses will not typically include the clinical component required for certification in most states. You should check with your state board of nursing for more information about online options for becoming certified as a nurse aide.

Q5: Does my certification ever expire?

A5: Yes, in most states your certification must be renewed every two years by completing continuing education units or taking refresher courses in order to maintain your active status as a certified nurse aide. Check with your state board of nursing for more information about renewal requirements.