In most states, to gain a license as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) applicants must have a clean criminal record, be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED. They must also be drug free and complete screening for medical and mental health conditions, according to Nursing Assistant Guides.
State requirements for CNAs vary, so applicants should check with their state to find out specific requirements. For example, some states allow a 16-year-old to obtain a license.
Recommended high school classes include biology, anatomy, chemistry and higher-level math classes. These are not mandatory, but a background in these and other courses can help pave the way to becoming a CNA. Some high schools offer specific CNA training programs and courses.
Applicants must have a clean criminal record, although there are a few exceptions. Crimes committed 7 to 10 years in the past may not prevent applicants from receiving a license, but they may hold them back from working in certain settings.
Once the basic requirements are met, take an approved training course, which lasts from 2 to 4 months, according to Learn.org. Submit fingerprints and an application, pay the appropriate fees and pass the certification exam to become a certified nursing assistant.