How to Become a CNA without a High School Diploma

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For those individuals who have an interest in health or hospice care and a true compassion for others, a career in the medical field can be a rewarding option. Unfortunately, most jobs in the medical field require a high school diploma before certification is given and one can get a job. The exception is the Certified Nurse Assistant, or CNA. Because training is available at places other than colleges that require a diploma, obtaining your CNA certification without your diploma is only a matter of steps and is virtually the same as obtaining your certification with a diploma.

  • Complete your GED if possible. A CNA certification doesn't require a diploma, but advancement in the medical field past the CNA certification generally does, so you'll want to have the GED so you can be accepted into medical colleges later on. The GED also shows you are committed to learning and will look better on your resume than nothing when you try to find CNA work.

  • Look for a CNA program in your area or online. CNA classes are given by colleges but they also are given by organizations such as the Red Cross.

  • Register for the necessary courses at the CNA program of your choice. Registration can cost $300 to $600 or more, depending on where you live.

  • Get in your training hours. Most programs require a minimum of 75 hours. You can grab extra hours not provided as part of the curriculum through volunteering at a clinic or hospital.

  • Obtain an internship for on the job training. Some internships for CNAs are paid, but many aren't.

  • Take the CNA state certification exam.

Tips & Warnings

  • The requirements for CNA certification vary greatly from state to state. Some require different numbers of training hours, for instance, and class length can vary anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks. Before you start on your CNA journey, be sure you know what your state's requirements are, and if you move, see if your CNA certification requires updating due to the variance in state regulations.

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