CNA Certification in VA – Virginia

There are several steps you need to complete if you want to work as a certified nursing assistant in Virginia.  You will need to pass a nursing assistant training program, pass the certification exam and apply to be placed on the nursing assistant registry in Virginia.  It is sometimes possible to receive certification by transferring one from another state or by having the training waived if you are a nursing school graduate.

Training Requirements and Hours

You can find many different nursing assistant training programs in the state of Virginia.  Training courses are 120 hours in length or more.  Some of the training hours will be spent in a classroom and some training hours will be spent in a clinical setting.  You will not be able to become certified unless you attend one of the training courses approved by the State Board of Nursing.

Your training will give you the opportunity to work directly with patients before you start your career as a certified nursing assistant.  The course will give you the training and education you need to have a successful career as a CNA.  You will learn safety procedures, how to prevent the spread of disease and many other important skills.  Once you complete an entire state –approved nursing assistant training course, you can sit for the certification exam.

Certification Reciprocity

If you are a certified nursing assistant in another state and wish to work as a CNA in Virginia, you can apply to have your certification transferred by applying for reciprocity.  Virginia will accept an application from reciprocity from some states.  The Board of Nursing will evaluate your training and work history from that state.  They will also evaluate the application for reciprocity that you must submit.  If they feel that you have had training that is similar to that for CNAs in Virginia, your application might very well be approved.  The state will conduct a background check before you can receive final approval.

Certification Renewal in Virginia

Your certification is not valid for life but rather it must be renewed every two years.  You will receive paperwork to renew your certification in advance of the date that your certification is set to expire.  You must be listed as a nursing assistant in good standing on the Nursing Aide Registry in Virginia if you want to be able to renew your certification.  Obviously, you must also verify that you have been employed as a certified nursing assistant or providing related services.


Q.  My nursing assistant certification has lapsed.  I did work still work as a CNA a few months ago.  However, my father was experiencing health problems and I took a higher paying job for a few months to help my parents with bills since I do still live at home.  I hope to return to work as a CNA soon.  What will I need to do to reinstate my certification?

A.  You can reinstate your license in one of two ways.  As long as your licensed has been expired for less than 90 days, you can still renew your certification.  It will be necessary to submit your proof of employment as a CNA within the past two years.  You will need to apply to sit for the nursing assistant competency exam IF more than 90 days has passed.  Your certification can be re-instated after you pass the test.

Q.  I would like to work as a certified nursing assistant if I can successfully complete training and pass the competency exam.  I am a divorce mother with two school-age children.  My schedule for work will matter to some degree since there are days off from school and I have limited childcare help on the weekends and evenings.  What types of shifts are available to nursing assistants?

A.  The shifts you work will depend on the setting in which you are employed.  It might be possible to obtain a first shift job.  However, nursing assistants are often required to work more than one shift.  You might very well have to work day and nighttime hours.  Patients and continuing care community residents need assistance every day per week and on holidays.  It is not uncommon to work many weekends and holidays.

CNA Certification Guidelines by State:

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