How to Be a CNA in North Carolina

Three Parts:Preparing for your CNA CoursePassing your CNA CourseGetting Certified at the State Level

Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) can be a fulfilling and lucrative career. A CNA is a skilled healthcare working dedicated to the direct care of patients, usually (though not exclusively) those in a long-term care facility. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services upholds federal regulations regarding the certification and licensure of Certified Nurses Assistants. This means that you must pass the state CNA exam in order to work legally as a CNA in North Carolina.

Part 1
Preparing for your CNA Course

  1. Image titled Teach Literature to College Students Step 2
    Find a local CNA course. Technically, in North Carolina, you are not required to complete a training course. You are however, strongly encouraged to complete a state-approved 75 hour training course in order to prepare for the required state exam. State approved classes are offered at community colleges, health care facilities, and though private companies. Find a state-approved course near you and enroll.[1]
    • 75 hour courses are often divided over 12 weeks, meeting 6.25 hours per week.
    • 16 of these 75 hours will be hands-on training.
  2. Image titled Teach Literature to College Students Step 7
    Enroll in a CNA course. One appeal of becoming a CNA in North Carolina is that it does not require a GED or High School diploma to enroll. Enrollment procedures will include instead a criminal background check, a health exam, and verification of your identity. You must be at least 17 years old with a valid ID. You may also be asked to take a drug test.[2]
  3. Image titled Buy a Cell Phone Step 13
    Submit your immunization records. In order to enroll in the course, you will need to provide up-to-date immunization records. This is crucial, as you will be working in a medical setting, and providing proof of your immunizations is required by law.
    • To train or work as a CNA in North Carolina, you must be vaccinated for varicella, Hepatitis B, TDaP, and two-step PPD.[3]
  4. Image titled Sell Your Home in a Down Market Step 9
    Pay the tuition. In North Carolina, the average cost of tuition for such a course is $400. This is significantly lower than CNA tuition in other states. Some schools may have financial aid or student loan options to help offset this cost.[4]
  5. Image titled Become a Marketing Manager Step 6
    Gather all the materials. The most essential (and expensive) material you will need is the book required for the course. Purchase this book, borrow it from a friend, or find it at a local library. You will also need: a pencil, a highlighter, a notebook, scrubs in your size, a wristwatch with a second hand, and white closed-toed shoes.[5]
  6. Image titled Stop a Divorce Step 7
    Have your ID badge made. Your instructor will schedule a time for you to have your ID badge made. Part of your training will include “clinicals,” or hands-on training in a medical setting. You must obtain an ID badge before you can begin working on clinicals.

Part 2
Passing your CNA Course

  1. Image titled Take a Family Beach Trip Step 1
    Dedicate yourself for 12 weeks. CNA courses in North Carolina are typically 12 weeks long. This means that a great deal of information and training is packed into just a few months of study. In order for to you to pass this class, you will need to make it your top priority for these 12 weeks.[6]
    • Courses in North Carolina are 75 hours in total, with 16 of those hours comprised of "hand-on" learning. So a typical course meets for 6.25 hours per week, spread over 12 weeks.
    • Many courses are offered at night or on weekends. Some meet twice a week, and others three times a week.
    • Online courses are not offered, as much of this training will be hands on.
  2. Image titled Deal With Exam Stress Step 3
    Master the material in your CNA course. The "instruction" portion of your course will be divided across three main areas of study: physical care activities, psychosocial care skills, and the role of a nurse aide. It will be crucial for you to study your materials at home, pay attention in class, and ask questions about anything you do not understand.[7]
    • The physical care skills section will be the most extensive, covering the activities of daily living (hygiene, dressing and grooming, nutrition and hydration, and so on), basic nursing skills (infection control, emergency situations, therapeutic procedures, and data collection and reporting), and restorative skills (prevention and self care/independence).
    • The psychosocial care skills section will cover both emotional and mental health needs, as well as spiritual and cultural needs.
    • The section of the role of the nurse aide will explore communication, client rights, legal and ethical behavior, and becoming a member of the care team.
  3. Image titled Study the Medical Condition of Nephrotic Syndrome Step 7
    Study for tests. As you cover material through the lecture portion of the class, and through your reading at home, you will be assigned quizzes and tests. Stay on top of your assigned reading, review what you’ve covered in class, and be sure to spend some quality time preparing for each test.
  4. Image titled Use Physical Therapy to Recover From a Stroke Step 3
    Complete your “clinicals.” After some of the key information has been learned in class, you will begin your hands-on training, or “clinicals.” During your clinicals, you will perform learned skills on patients or nursing home residents. Clinicals are done in a nursing home, an assisted living facility, or in a hospital.[8]
  5. Image titled Stop a Divorce Step 4
    Pass your final exam. After finishing lectures, and clinicals, there is one more test to be taken in class. This is your final exam in the course. It will will test your knowledge and skills, and prepare you for the state certification exam.

Part 3
Getting Certified at the State Level

  1. Image titled Stop a Divorce Step 1
    Sign up for the state test. Locate a CNA testing facility in your area and sign up for the state exam. You will have the option of choosing a “written and skills” version of the test, or an “oral and skills” version.[9]
    • Written exam is only available in English. It consists of 70 multiple choice questions.
    • Oral exam is available in English or Spanish. The Oral Examination consists of sixty multiple-choice questions and ten multiple-choice reading comprehension questions provided on an MP3 player.
    • At the Skills Evaluation you will be asked to perform five randomly selected nurse aide skills. You will be given thirty minutes to complete the five skills.
  2. Image titled Teach Literature to College Students Step 18
    Prepare for the exam. The written and/or oral component of the exam will cover the information you learned through the "instruction" portion of your CNA course. The skills section will focus on what you learned through your clinicals, or hands-on training.[10]
    • The written/oral portion of the test will cover physical care skills (activities of daily living, basic nursing skills, and restorative skills), psychosocial care skills, and the role of the nurse aide.
    • The skills you may be asked to perform include: proper hand-washing, recording a measurement (such as blood pressure, radial pulse, respirations, urine output, or weight); applying a knee-high elastic stocking; assisting with use of bedpan; transferring to wheelchair using transfer belt; or providing passive range of motion (PROM) for shoulder, ankle, or knee.
  3. Image titled Be Stylish Without Spending a Lot of Money Step 16
    Pay the fee. Regardless of which version you select (written and skills, or oral and skills), the fee for the test is $101. You must pay this fee at the time of registration.[11]
    • If you should need to take the either the written or orals tests again, the fee is $24.
    • If you need to retake the skills portion, however, the fee is $77.
  4. Image titled Calculate Medical Billing Costs Step 5
    Take the exam. You will need to arrive at the testing facility with all required materials thirty minutes before the start time for your exam. You must bring: two forms of ID, two number 2 pencils, a watch with a second hand, scrubs, and your white nurses shoes.[12]
  5. Image titled Work for ESPN Step 5
    Look for a job. Once you have passed the North Carolina exam, you are able to work as a CNA. You will be placed on the North Carolina CNA registry 1-5 business days after passing your state exam. Then, you can use any number of job-search tools (including Indeed, Monster, or even Craiglist) to find an employer who is hiring. You may also want to contact long-term care facilities in your area directly. Health care is a constantly growing field, and you should have no trouble finding work as a CNA.


  • In North Carolina, an employer can hire a CNA in-training, before he or she is certified. The applicant for work for up to 120 days while he or she is still obtaining their certification.
  • This is an appealing career to many, as you do not need a high school diploma to train as a CNA. (Although some employers may want you to have a diploma or GED).


  • You will need to pass a criminal background check.
  • You may need to pass a drug test to be hired as a CNA.

Article Info

Categories: Health Care