You’ve imagined yourself dedicating your career to serving others and taking care of those in need. Your friends and family see you as a nurturing type, or maybe you have a talent for knowing just what someone needs when they’re feeling sick or down.
Now, you’ve decided to put those skills to use and begin your journey to becoming a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA). And if you happen to be a Tennessee local, this is the perfect article for you.
Here, you’ll find all the information you need in an easy-to-follow guide on how to become a CNA in Tennessee. Furthermore, you’ll find answers to frequently asked questions, such as:
- How much is the average salary of a CNA in Tennessee?
- What are the career opportunities for CNAs in Tennessee?
- How long will my Tennessee CNA license be valid? How can I keep it active?
Let’s jump straight into our guide.
How to Become a CNA in Tennessee in 4 Easy Steps
You can become a CNA in Tennessee in only 4 steps:
- Think about how you want your life to be.
- Consider what pathway you want to take.
- Pick a CNA Training Program in Tennessee.
- Apply for the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation Examination.
Step #1: Think about how you want your life to be.
Being a nursing assistant is hard but fulfilling work. You’ll spend many hours caring for patients, writing up vital documents, and helping nurses fulfill all the tasks that contribute to patient welfare. It’s a great way to dip your toes into nursing as a career since you’ll experience what it’s like working in healthcare facilities and institutions.
If you think this is the job for you, congratulations! However, if you’re unsure this is the path you want to take on your nursing journey, don’t worry. We have a great guide on how to become a nurse which will inform you about the different types of nurses and the general processes involved in getting certified.
Step #2: Consider what pathway you want to take
The one thing keeping you from getting a CNA license in Tennessee is passing the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation Examination. You are eligible to take the exam if you have completed:
- a CNA training program
- basic nursing courses as a student in a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) course
- military training as a medic
- CNA training from a foreign country
If you’re a registered CNA from out of state, you’re likely to qualify for reciprocity. This means you can apply to the Tennessee Department of Health (TDOH) and register directly to the Tennessee Nurse Aide Registry.
However, if you’re from Florida or North Carolina, you’ll still need to retrain and take the exam. If you’re from Georgia, you’ll need to verify your CNA status and take the test.
The rest of this guide assumes you’re part of the majority who choose to complete a training program.
Step #3: Pick a CNA Training Program in Tennessee
There are hundreds of state-approved CNA training programs in Tennessee provided in numerous settings such as high schools, hospitals, and nursing homes.
Tennessee CNA training involves a minimum of 75 hours in a combination of classroom, laboratory, and clinical time. You’ll learn basic nursing skills, such as interpersonal skills, safety, and emergency procedures.
Here are a few prerequisites you’ll likely need to meet before you enroll. You must:
- be 16 years old or above
- have proof of a high school diploma or GED
- pass a background check
- pass a TB and drug screening exam
- have proof of vaccination
- pass an English proficiency test
Note that these prerequisites will vary depending on the program you enroll in.
Step #4: Apply for the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation Examination
Once you’re done with training, it’s time to take the exam! You’ll need to apply for an examination within 24 months of completing your training program. If you fail to do so, you’ll need to train again.
The exam is divided into two different tests: a knowledge assessment and a skills evaluation.
The knowledge test may be taken in written or oral form and is made up of 75 questions. A score of 75 percent or higher is a pass.
As for the skills test, you’ll be judged on five different nursing skills. The first test is hand hygiene, and the other four are randomly selected. You’ll need a score of 80 percent or higher to pass this part.
If you pass both exams, your name will automatically be listed on the Tennessee CNA Registry.
Frequently Asked Questions About Becoming a CNA in Tennessee
How much is the average salary of a CNA in Tennessee?
The average salary of CNAs in Tennessee is about $23,850 or $11.46 per hour.
What are the career opportunities for CNAs in Tennessee?
CNAs in Tennessee can work for facilities certified by the Division of Health Care Facilities. These include hospitals, nursing homes, healthcare clinics, and more.
Tennessee has a fast-growing CNA industry with a projected growth of 22.5 percent in the number of jobs from 2014 to 2024.
How long will my Tennessee CNA license be valid? How can I keep it active?
Your Tennessee CNA license will be valid for a period of 24 months or two years. At the end of the two-year period, you will need to provide evidence that you’ve provided at least eight hours of paid work as a CNA during those two years.
You will be required to retrain and retake the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation Examination if you do not renew your license at the end of two years or if you are unable to work for eight hours during the two-year period.
And there you have it: everything you need to know to become a CNA in Tennessee. Being a nurse aide is hard work, but we hope that reading this article gives you newfound energy and motivation to reach your goals.
If you have any questions or clarifications, feel free to leave them in the comments. We hope this article was helpful to you, and we wish you luck on your nursing journey!