its not necessary, I got in with very little hospital experience! I have volunteered a bit, so that is all I would do if I were you and save the $900 bucks or so it takes to get a CNA. Anyway after your first semester of nursing school you are not only qualified to be a CNA, but a medical techinician and a phlebotomist, in other words you might as well be a nurse but you just don't have the clinical experience to say you are a nurse, doing well in your classes is the key to getting in, if working is dowing your grades, stop working if possible and just focus on school. You can be a CNA all you want, but if you are getting C's in everything you aren't going to get in. Just volunteer, because you will have a more flexible schedule, so on the weeks that school is really hectic you can just not volunteer and on the weeks that it is easy you can volunteer more. Anwya I think volunteering is more fun, you are worried about keeping a job or making money or anything, just enjoying the experience.