CNA after first year of nursing school?


Hi! I have just completed my first year of nursing school and I am looking for a job as a CNA. I live in TN and so far no one has been interested since I am not a licensed CNA. According to teachers and friends I should not have to take the certification exam to go work as a CNA. I know I can bypass (challenge) the class and just take the exam, but I am working full time and taking a summer class so I would rather save the time and money if I can. So my question is am I going about finding a CNA position or is it just impossible without taking the CNA test? I know other students have already been hired as techs/CNAs at other facilities and they didn't take the exam. So I guess what I'm really asking is: why isn't anyone considering me for this position? Should I just break down and take the exam or has anyone else been through the same thing??

P.S. this is my first ever post on here so I hope I am in the right spot. Thanks in advance!

nurseprnRN, BSN, RN

2 Articles; 5,114 Posts

The "C" in "CNA" means "certified." (CNAs are not licensed, they are certified. Different deal.) In this case, you would be certified by the governmental agency that regulates CNAs, which could be the Board of Nursing or an independent CNA board depending on your state. Therefore you cannot call yourself a CNA unless you pass those requirements, including the exam. Employers looking to hire CNAs will ask you for your certification number. That may be why you're not getting consideration for the job.

In some states (and fewer all the time), passing the first year of clinicals in nursing school will allow you to challenge the CNA exam without another approved course of study, or maybe even get the CNA by endorsement without the exam. Maybe not, though, so no matter what "they" say you "should" be able to do, call the Board of Nursing and get the only opinion that matters. Then decide what you want to do, and do what you have to do.

Specializes in ER, Med-surg.

I know that most professors say you should be able to work as a CNA after your first year of school, but it's a bunch of garbage. You need to get certified through your state and this usually consists of a skills and written exam. A couple students in my class tried to get CNA jobs after the first year of school and were told they had to test. You should be able to challenge the test because you've done a year in nursing school (challenging the test means taking the test without going through a state approved CNA program).

Good luck and Godspeed!


1 Article; 1,265 Posts

Specializes in Hospice. Has 3 years experience.

In my state (VA) you could sit for the CNA exam after first semester which is what I did and am now working as a CNA in LTC.