How to Become a CNA in Massachusetts

How to Become a CNA in Massachusetts

Becoming a CNA (certified nurse aide) in Massachusetts isn’t as hard as people might think. As a matter of fact, it only takes two steps. 

And if that isn’t enough incentive, Massachusetts is part of the top 10% of CNA wages, paying an average of $16 an hour. 

So if you’re ready to start your CNA career, this article will help you learn how to become a CNA in Massachusetts. At the end, we’ll also answer additional FAQs for related CNA questions. 

Let’s get started! 

How to Become a CNA in Massachusetts

We said earlier that it only takes two steps to be a CNA in the state. These are: 

  1. Complete a state-approved nurse aide training program
  2. Pass the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation Program

In the following sections, we’re going to talk about what these steps are and how you can accomplish each one of them. 

Step 1: Complete a State-Approved Nurse Aide Training

Unless you are a CNA in another state (see Application by Reciprocity), you are required to complete a state-approved nurse aide training program.Be sure to enroll in a program that is approved by the Department of Public Health.

The nurse aide training is a 100-hour course that has both classroom instruction and hands-on training. 75 hours is allotted for classroom instruction on the basics of human anatomy, basic clinical skills, patient rights, and more. 

On the other hand, the 25-hour hands-on training will teach you how to take care of a patient based on a CNA’s job description. This may include changing the beddings, helping a patient eat and drink, taking and recording vital signs, and so on. 

You may complete the nurse aide training program in about 4 to 12 weeks. Of course, if you are a part-time student, you will take longer to finish.  

Step 2: Pass the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation Program

When you’ve graduated from the nurse aide training program, you can now apply for a testing date to take the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation Program. 

To schedule an exam, visit this link. Note that you may only register with one test provider. 

The Competency Evaluation Program, as the name suggests, tests your competency as a future nurse assistant. It consists of two parts: a written exam and a hands-on exam. 

The written exam is a 60-question multiple-choice exam. You can also request to take an oral version of this exam (with 10 additional questions on reading comprehension) at any ARC regional test site with an additional $10 fee. 

For the hands-on exam, an instructor will ask you to demonstrate five skills expected of a nurse aide. To pass this portion, you need to get 4 out of 5 skills correct in 30 minutes or less. 

You will receive your exam results in three weeks through mail. 

If you fail, you may retake the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation Program two more times.You are allowed four chances to pass the written test and three to pass the skills test. If you fail all chances, you are required to retrain under a state-approved nurse aide program.

If you pass, you will automatically be registered to the License Verification site. And that’s it!

Once your name shows on the site, you’re already a CNA in Massachusetts. 

Application by Reciprocity

To apply for reciprocity in Massachusetts, you must meet the following requirements: 

  • Have an active certification 
  • Have a certification in good standing 
  • Never have been certified in Massachusetts 

If you satisfy all these requirements, follow these steps: 

  1. Fill up the Reciprocity Application form and send it to the Nurse Aide Registry of the state where you are currently certified. 
  1. Wait for the Nurse Registry to verify your application. 
  1. Once the application is verified, the application form will be returned to you. Then, mail the original completed application to this address:


MA Nurse Aide

7941 Corporate Drive

Nottingham, MA 21236

  1. To waive the Competency Evaluation Program, fill up this form and submit it to this address:

Department of Public Health 

Division of Health Care Facility Licensure and Certification 

Nurse Aide Registry 

67 Forest Street 

Marlborough, MA 01752 

Frequently Asked Questions

As promised, here are a few FAQs that will help you understand the CNA requirements and application process. 

How much does CNA training cost in Massachusetts?

Nurse aide training programs start for as low as $400 but some schools can charge up to $2000. The cost depends on several factors such as school inclusions and the length of the program. 

Can I become a CNA online?

Unfortunately, no. 

Some programs may have shifted to online courses for the 75 hours of classroom instruction, but you still need to attend physical classes for the 25-hour hands-on portion. 

You also have to take the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation Program in person.

How long does it take to get a CNA certificate in Massachusetts?

You may get your CNA certification in 2 to 3 months.

Do you need a high school diploma to become a CNA in Massachusetts?

No, you don’t need to show a high school diploma or a GED certificate; however, many programs require this for CNA training. 

How much is the CNA exam?

The CNA exam costs $100 for the written and hands-on exam. 


We hope that we’ve given you just enough information to begin your journey on becoming a CNA in Massachusetts. So, what are you waiting for? 


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