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How to Get Your CNA While in High School

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The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 19 percent increase in the number of employment opportunities and jobs available for certified nurse aides (CNAs) between 2008 and 2018. High school students seeking a job during or after high school have the option to take advantage of this need for CNAs by getting their nurse aide certification while they are still in high school.

Enroll in a CNA course. Find a nurse aide course in your area offered by a local community college, trade school, hospital or nursing home. Learn what high school students must do to be eligible to enroll in the course. For example, high school students enrolling at Hutchinson Community College are required to have a permission form signed by their high school principal or counselor.

Take placement tests. Speak with an adviser or the instructor of the CNA course to learn if placement tests are required to take the course as a high school student. These tests often cover basic reading, writing and math skills which students must have to be successful in the CNA course. High school students are often required to take these tests since they don’t have a diploma or GED. Learn what score you must obtain, and pass the tests.

Complete coursework. Attend classroom lectures and labs to learn the roles of a nurse aide and gain experience working with mannequins and mock patients in a lab setting. Finish the CNA course by completing clinicals at a nursing home or hospital as arranged by your CNA instructor.

Earn your certification. Apply for certification with the state agency overseeing nurse aide licensing. Take and pass the certification exam given by the state licensing board. Apply for open positions as a CNA with local hospitals, physician offices and nursing homes. Understand that you may be restricted to only working a specific number of hours as a CNA due to state laws limiting working hours for anyone who is a minor.


Allison Dodge has been a writer since 2005, specializing in education, careers, health and travel. She has worked at educational institutions for more than 10 years. Dodge has a master's degree in education administration.

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