How to Become a CNA in Missouri (A Complete 2023 Guide)

How to Become a CNA in Missouri

So you want to become a CNA in Missouri?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that there will be about 220,200 openings for nursing aids each year. So this is definitely a great career choice. 

But how do you become a CNA in Missouri?

Come with us as we walk through all the steps and requirements. We’ll tell you everything you need to know here – from start to finish. 

So shall we? 

How to Become a CNA in Missouri – The 5 Steps to Certification

The great news is that becoming a CNA in Missouri isn’t as complicated as you might think!

You will only need to undergo 5 steps. These are:

  1. Start preparing early
  2. Check the CNA Challenge
  3. Complete your CNA training
  4. Take and pass the CNA test 
  5. Have your name in the MO Nurse Aide Registry

Let’s explore these steps a bit further.

Step 1: Start Preparing Early

You are eligible to start CNA training when you turn 18 years old (or 16 if you’re attending secondary school). However, you can begin preparing a lot earlier. 


Well, you can invest your time in several activities that provide a solid foundation. 

Let’s look at some activities you can take part in. 

First Aid Course

Some high schools include CPR or first aid training in their curriculum. If yours doesn’t, check with your local community center.  

If online courses work for you, you can take advantage of some self-paced CPR programs. 

The American Heart Association has one that uses a blended learning approach. You can take a self-paced course and, once you’ve finished, attend hands-on classes to practice your newly acquired skills.

Volunteer Opportunities

A more practical approach to gaining exposure is spending some time volunteering in nursing facilities, residential care centers, or clinics. If you’re still studying, it’s an excellent option to have a productive summer vacation.

Volunteering has many benefits, such as boosting your resume. 

More than that, volunteering can give you a clearer perspective of what a CNA does. When you know what to expect, you can take steps to prepare yourself better.

Step 2: Check the CNA Challenge

You need to complete a CNA training program to get your certification. However, several situations may exempt you from it — this is referred to as the CNA challenge. 

Check if any of these apply to you:

  • You were formerly or are presently enrolled in an RN or LPN program for at least four months. You must have completed a module on Fundamentals of Nursing (including a clinical rotation) within the last five years.

NOTE: Be ready to submit an official copy of your transcript with an official letter from your school confirming you completed the required module and clinical rotation.

  • You applied for your LPN or RN license but did not pass the licensure exam.

NOTE: Be ready to show proof that you completed a board-approved nursing program and received a notice of failure from the Board of Nursing

  • You’re certified and active in another state.

NOTE: You will need to submit a written request so that the department can add you to Missouri’s Nurse Assistant Registry

  • You’re a nursing student who completed your education outside of the US and is awaiting licensure.

NOTE: You will need to submit a copy of your out-of-country license or certification, official transcript, and out-of-country criminal background check.

  • You completed the Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (UAP) training consisting of 175 hours.

NOTE: You must submit an official letter signed by an HR Representative or the Administrator confirming your completion of the program and employment within the last two years.

  • You are already in the Missouri State Nurse Aide Register but tagged as inactive.

NOTE: Submit a copy of your certificate or a printout of the Missouri Nursing Registry.

  • You are educated, trained, or have a background in gerontology and health occupations. 

NOTE: The Health Education supervisor from the Division of Regulation and Licensure will evaluate your credentials and see if you need to take specific parts of the curriculum. If you do, you can challenge the CNA after completing them.

Submit a written request to if you checked off any of the boxes above. You should also submit the required documents, your SSN, a return address, and a telephone number. 

If approved, you will receive a “CNA challenge accepted” response after 7 to 10 business days. This means you can jump straight to the CNA test. 

Step 3: Complete Your CNA Training

If you can’t challenge the CNA, you must attend a state-approved CNA program that prepares you to work in a long-term care facility. 

Click here for a list of approved CNA program providers in Missouri

One thing to note. Before you can enroll in a program, you have to meet certain prerequisites. Now, these are different for every program provider, but here is a general idea of what they ask for: 

  • A copy of your high school diploma, transcripts, or GED
  • Proof of immunizations against Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis
  • Proof of vaccinations for Hepatitis B, Measles, Mumps, and Rubella
  • Proof of current flu shot
  • Proof of Tuberculosis test
  • Pass a criminal background check and a drug test 

What can you expect from your CNA training?

In Missouri, you must complete at least 75 hours of classroom instruction and at least 100 hours of on-the-job training to satisfy the CNA education requirements. 

Of course, your chosen program provider can choose to add in more hours for even more learning and practice. 

Step 4: Take and Pass the CNA Test

When you complete your CNA program, you are now eligible to take the CNA test. 

The D&S Headmaster is the service that conducts the Missouri Nurse Aide Registry. You can take your CNA test with them. 

NOTE: Before you can use the D&S Headmaster’s TestMaster Universe (TMU) portal, you need to log in using your Secure Email/Username and Password. You then need to fill up the demographic information. This is required even if you take the CNA test with a third-party provider. 

You can also take the CNA test in several approved nursing facilities and certified agencies. You need to reach out to your chosen provider and ask how to schedule the test with them. 

Click here for a list of certifying agencies in the state

What can you expect from the CNA test?

The first part is either a written or oral knowledge test (if you want the test to be oral, make sure you request this when scheduling). Here, you will need to answer 75 questions in 60 minutes. To pass, you need a score of 80% or higher. 

The second part is a skills evaluation. You will be asked to perform 3 to 4 skills, selected at random, within 30 minutes. You have to get a 100% score for the key skills and at least 80% for the non-key skills. 

CNA test fees:

Knowledge test or retake$30
Oral knowledge test or retake$40
Skills test or retake$95

NOTE: These are the prices from the D&S Headmaster. Approved third-party exam providers may charge higher, lower, or are fully paid by the facility director. 

Step 5: Have Your Name in the MO Nurse Aide Registry

Once you pass both portions of the CNA test, the D&S Headmaster will list your name in the Missouri Nurse Aide Registry. 

You can check your certification status by logging into your D&S Headmaster TMU account. 

And that’s it — you’re now a certified nursing assistant in Missouri. 


Frequently Asked Questions About CNAs in Missouri

Let’s run through a few FAQs to give you even more information. 

How do I choose a CNA program? 

The most important thing to look for is whether or not it is state-approved. If it isn’t, then it won’t satisfy your CNA education requirements. 

You can check for approved CNA program providers here

Besides that, here are other things to consider when looking for a CNA program: 

  • Program Length: Providers may offer curriculums with varying lengths. Some go for the mandatory 75 classroom hours and 100 practical training hours, while others give you more hours in both areas. 
  • Tuition: Rates vary between providers, but CNA programs in Missouri can cost anywhere between $600 to $1,200.

Another option is to look for employer-sponsored training. Sometimes, hospitals or nursing facilities will shoulder your tuition if you agree to work for them for a specific period. It might be a good choice if you want assurance that a job is waiting for you as soon as you’re certified.

  • Learning Options: Some schools allow you to take classroom instruction online. Going through the material at your own pace may give you more flexibility regarding scheduling and other obligations. Candidates who have excellent time management may benefit from this approach.

Remember, the best program for each person is different. This is why it’s a good idea to see what each provider can offer and match it to your preferences and available resources.

What happens if I fail the CNA test? 

If you fail the CNA test, you can retake it 2 more times. You must reschedule these within 90 days of your first take. If you don’t pass everything by then, you will have to redo the entire process.

What happens if you fail the skills evaluation but pass the knowledge test? You will only need to retake the portion that you failed. 

How much do CNAs earn in Missouri?

The median salary for nursing aids in the US is around $30,310 per year. CNAs in Missouri have a slightly lower median at $$29,520.

How often do I need to renew my CNA certification in Missouri? 

Your CNA certification in Missouri remains valid for two years. Although you don’t need to complete CE hours within that period, you must have worked as a CNA for at least one 8-hour shift to qualify for renewal.

Where do CNAs usually work?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 47% of CNAs work in nursing facilities. Other employment areas are as follows:

  • Hospitals: 30%
  • Assisted Living: 13%
  • Home Healthcare: 5%
  • Government: 5%

The Wrap Up

So that was how to become a CNA in Missouri. 

If you follow the steps one by one, you’ll soon be finished with everything — you’ll soon be a certified nursing assistant in the state. 

Now that you know all the details, it’s time to get started. 

Good luck!

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