How to Become a CNA in Maryland

How to Become a CNA in Maryland

Interested in being a CNA in Maryland? 

You’re making a great choice! 

Maryland is home to at least 88,000 nurse aides, and this number only grows because of the high demand for nursing assistants in hospitals and medical facilities. 

To top it all off, CNAs in Maryland enjoy one of the highest hourly wages in the country. 

Doesn’t that sound great?

But just like any other medical professional, a CNA in Maryland requires a certificate before employment in hospitals and facilities. 

If you’re wondering how to get that certificate, we’re here to walk you through the whole process. We’ll answer some frequently asked questions on how to become a CNA in Maryland too. 

At the end of this post, you’ll realize that being a nurse aide isn’t that long and hard at all. 

How to Become a CNA in Maryland

Is becoming a CNA in Maryland difficult?


In most cases, you only need to complete four steps to become a CNA in the state. These are: 

  1. Complete a state-approved CNA program
  2. Submit an application to take the GNA state exam
  3. Pass the CNA state exam
  4. Apply/verify your certificate

The steps are pretty straightforward, but just in case you need more details on each of them, we’ve summarized the whole process in the next few sections. 

Step 1: Complete a State-Approved CNA Program

Every nurse in Maryland is required to take a nursing training program. For CNAs, you are required to complete 100 hours of nurse training. 

This nurse training includes 60 hours of classroom lectures and 40 hours of practical or laboratory practice. 

To get started, you first have to be eligible to attend CNA training. Here are the requirements:

  • Be 18 years old and above
  • Submit a Social Security Number or Tax Identification Number 
  • Show proof of good physical health and an updated immunization record
  • Test negative for TB (must take a test for verification)
  • Pass a criminal background check

If you’re a full-time student, you can complete this program in about 4-12 weeks. However, the timeline for completion will still vary depending on your school of choice. 

Looking for state-approved CNA programs? You can check out this link for a list approved by the Maryland Board of Nursing.

Step 2: Submit an Application to take the GNA Exam

In Maryland, if you’re planning to work as a CNA in a hospital, you don’t need to take an exam. Instead, you can go ahead to apply for a CNA certification (skip to Step 4). 

On the other hand, if you’re planning to work in nursing homes or long-term health care facilities, you need to be a Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA). A GNA should have passed a GNA exam. 

The GNA Exam, more commonly called the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) tests your competency and your knowledge of practical skills. 

Before you take the exam, you first have to create an account at Credentia which administers the exam with PearsonVue. 

Follow these steps for your exam application: 

  • Create an account at Credentia by clicking the ‘Sign Up’ button.
  • Fill in the basic information.
  • Verify your account by clicking the link sent via email.
  • On the dashboard, click ‘Start a New Application’.
  • Choose the GNA route.
  • Fill up the needed information and click ‘Submit’ at the top of the page.
  • Wait for the email approval of your application. Only after your application is approved will you be able to register for an exam.
  • Once your application is approved, register for an exam and pick the time, date, and venue.
  • Pay for the exam fees.

You may also click here for a step-by-step guide through pictures on how to register. 

Step 3: Pass the CNA Exam

The GNA exam consists of two parts with one testing knowledge and the other testing skills. All questions and demonstrations will be about the things you’ve learned from your CNA training. 

The first part is a written multiple-choice exam with 70 questions. You will be given two hours to answer all questions. 

If your primary language isn’t English, you can opt for an oral exam. For this type, you’ll be given 60 multiple-choice questions and 10 reading comprehension questions. 

On the other hand, the practical skills exam will consist of 5 tasks that you need to demonstrate within 30 minutes. To be able to pass this portion, you must perform four demonstrations correctly. 

When your results are out, Credentia will notify you via email. You need to log in to your account to see your results. 

Step 4: Apply and Verify your Certificate

If you’re not applying for a GNA, you can apply straight away to the Maryland Board of Nursing. To do this, ask your training program for the application form and pass what is required along with the application form. Find more information on the process here

On the other hand, if you passed the NNAAP, congratulations! 

Credentia will automatically send your test results to the Maryland Board of Nursing. 

To know if you’re already registered, go to the Maryland Board of Nursing Verification Page. Choose ‘nursing assistant’ under ‘profession’ and type in your name and other details. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does a CNA course cost in Maryland?

CNA courses cost anywhere from $600-$2000. The amount depends on the school you’re attending. 

Some schools will already include textbooks and training materials, but some programs will not. Check with your chosen school for more details. 

How long does CNA certification last in Maryland?

The CNA certification lasts for two years. Your GNA certification will automatically expire once your CNA certification does. 

How much is it to renew a CNA license in MD?

For CNA certification renewal, pay $40. 

You do not need to pay any amount for a GNA certification renewal. 


Becoming a CNA in Maryland is a great career choice given the state’s high demand for and payment of these nursing assistants. 

But if you want to go the extra step and work for a long-term health care facility, take the road leading to GNA certification. 

Nonetheless, each path will allow you to start earning right away and reap the benefits of your hard work. 

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