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CNA Certification in Florida
As Florida’s population grows and many healthcare workers either retire or move into other roles, the demand for certified nursing assistants (CNAs) remains strong. Employment trends show that nearly 95,000 nursing assistants worked in the Sunshine State as of 2018, but this number is projected to grow by 11% through 2028.
In response to these substantial growth projections, Premier Nursing Academy is turning the traditional educational model—student pays for school, interviews, and hopes to land a job post-graduation—on its head. By working with top healthcare employers in Florida, PNA provides 100% free training and guaranteed employment to CNA candidates who can then go on to even more opportunities in the healthcare field. Premier Nursing Academy’s CNA training program has been reviewed and approved by the Florida Board of Nursing.
If you’re not sure what it takes to become a CNA in Florida, or you still have questions about the process, you’ve come to the right place. Here you can find information on how long it takes to complete a state-approved training program, requirements for licensure, and how to apply for a CNA license in Florida.
Learn more about how much CNAs earn in Florida.
- All students and staff are required to wear masks while inside our facility.
- Due to State of Florida Department of Health notices and for the safety of the residents of our employer partners, all instructor-supervised clinical instruction will be completed within our simulation lab instead of on-site at a facility. This will not affect our student’s ability to become licensed certified nursing assistants.
- Visitors have been restricted from entering our facility. Students and staff must complete a daily health screening prior to entry.
How Do I Become a CNA in Florida?
Motivated students in Florida can become CNAs in only a few months, but the timeline can vary based on several factors. For starters, it’s smart to complete a training program. These can last anywhere from two weeks to 12 months. After meeting all program requirements, you must apply for the state exams via test administrator, Prometric, and submit to a background check and electronic fingerprinting.
Once you pass both the written and skills-based exams, you can apply for licensure and get added to the Florida Board of Nursing’s CNA registry. To maintain this status, you’ll need to renew your license by May 31 every two years.
Florida CNA Certification Paths
The Florida Department of Health has established five different CNA certification paths based on where you are in your training and career. Review each one carefully to figure out which pertains to your current status.
E 1: Complete a State-Approved Program
If you have already completed a CNA training program approved by the Florida Board of Nursing but have not practiced as a CNA in any other state, use this pathway. Within the application, make sure you include details such as what program you attended and when you completed training.
E 2: Be Enrolled in a State-Approved Program
If you are currently enrolled in a state-approved CNA training program but have yet to graduate (and have not practiced in another state), you’ll utilize this route. As with the previous option, you must supply the name of the program you’re enrolled in and when you’re slated to finish training.
E 3: Challenge the Exam
This pathway allows those who have not completed any CNA training nor worked in this capacity previously to study on their own time and try to pass the examination. Failing at least one section of the test three times within two years means that you must complete a program lasting at least 120 hours and retake both the clinical and written exams. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and possess a GED or high school diploma.
E 4: Use Hands-On Nursing Experience
This route exists for individuals who previously completed some nursing training or worked in the field but never graduated from a state-approved program. It also applies to those who only passed one portion of the exam within the last two years.
E 5: Renew an Expired Certification
If you previously worked as a certified nursing assistant in Florida or another state but let your certification lapse, this is the correct path for seeking recertification. You may need to pass the state exams, but you will not be required to complete a second training program.
Florida CNA Training Program Requirements
To receive approval from the Florida Board of Nursing, all training programs must include a minimum of 120 hours of lab experience and lectures. Programs must devote at least 40 hours to a supervised clinical practicum. However, before you can participate in the clinical portion, you’ll need to complete 16 hours of class-based training.
Each program must also adhere to Florida standards and include the Career Ready Practices coursework. This curriculum covers general nursing practices that all professionals must follow, including responsible and professional behavior, clear communication, creative and innovative problem-solving, and embracing technology to improve productivity.
When they graduate, students should be able to demonstrate the following knowledge and competencies:
- Demonstrate knowledge of the healthcare delivery system and health occupations.
- Demonstrate an understanding of and apply wellness and disease concepts.
- Recognize and respond to emergencies.
- Recognize and practice infection control procedures.
- Demonstrate an understanding of information technology applications in healthcare.
- Demonstrate knowledge of bloodborne diseases, including HIV/AIDS.
- Recognize and practice safety and security procedures.
- Demonstrate legal and ethical responsibilities.
That said, individuals who decide to challenge the exam and pass it without completing an approved program can bypass these training requirements if they possess a high school diploma/GED and are at least 18 years old when they submit their application. Keep in mind that employees often prefer candidates who’ve finished a state-approved CNA training program, so it’s important to consider this when evaluating your options.
How Much Does CNA Training Cost in Florida?
The cost of a CNA program can vary substantially based on where you go and the type of program you complete. Some public high schools offer free programs as part of the high school career or vocational training. Community colleges may also offer nursing assistant programs, allowing learners to pay a low in-state tuition rate.
With over 200 state-approved CNA training programs in Florida, costs are all over the board, from free to more than $2,000 for a CNA certification class. You can typically find an option that works for your budget, so take time to compare options. In general, training programs with for-profit companies typically cost more than those with nonprofit or state entities.
CNA Certification by Endorsement
Florida’s Board of Nursing allows CNAs who previously practiced in another state and now live in Florida to receive certification by endorsement, so long as they are currently certified, are listed on that state’s CNA registry, and haven’t committed abuse, neglect, or exploitation. Those who possess a license in good standing in another state will not need to take any exams to be placed on the Florida registry.
That said, they will need to pass an updated background screening via electronic fingerprinting through a Livescan provider. They must also submit an application seeking endorsement and wait for the Board to verify their status with the previous state. Outside of electronic fingerprinting costs, this process does not incur additional fees.
Requirements for a CNA License in Florida
To qualify for a CNA license in Florida, applicants must pass a background screening and meet one of the three requirements covered below.
How to Apply for a Florida CNA License
When applying for CNA licensure in Florida, plan to complete several steps before you reach the finish line. This section breaks down the process into small steps, so you can easily navigate the application process.
1. Apply with Prometric.
The Florida Board of Nursing contracts with Prometric for CNA Florida certification and licensure. The application requires standard demographic information such as your full name, date of birth, address, and education status. Applicants must also answer questions about criminal history, disciplinary history, health history, training information, and which exams they plan to take.
2. Schedule an electronic fingerprint appointment.
After receiving the application, Prometric sends a letter authorizing fingerprinting. You must find an approved Livescan service provider and bring an approved form with you to the appointment.
3. Wait for results.
After submitting your fingerprints and background information, Prometric will let you know the results of this process. If you pass the background screening, Prometric then sends an admission ticket that allows you to schedule the exam and pay the required fees.
4. Take the exam.
You will schedule the exam with Prometric on a testing date that works with your schedule. Applicants who successfully pass the exam will be on the CNA registry within two weeks. Those who fail either or both sections of the exam must start the testing process over.
What’s on the CNA Certification Test?
Applicants use a computer to take the written portion of the exam, which consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. This portion of the test lasts 90 minutes and covers both skills- and knowledge-based questions, with five main sections:
- Role of the Nurse Aide (20%)
- Promotion of Safety (22%)
- Promotion of Function and Health of Residents (20%)
- Basic Nursing Care Provided by the Nurse Aide (24%)
- Providing Specialized Care for Residents with Changes in Health (14%)
The clinical exam scores on five different skills: three are assigned when you schedule the test, and the other two are handwashing and indirect care. Depending on the skills assigned to you, this portion takes between 31-40 minutes to complete.
CNA License Renewal
CNAs practicing in Florida must renew their license every two years if they do not want it to lapse. The department divides them into two groups: odd and even years. Regardless of the actual date that you received your license, they all expire on May 31 and become void as of June 1. Applicants must have worked as CNAs in exchange for wages within the previous 24 months to continue being listed on the registry.
Fees for CNA license renewal are $55 if you renew before your license expires, $105 if you renew after your license expires, and $160 for renewing a 120-day notified delinquent license.
Florida CNA Certification FAQ
If you still need answers about pursuing a CNA license, these are some of the most commonly asked questions about CNA certification in Florida.
How long does it take to become a CNA in Florida?
Simply put, the time it takes to become a Florida CNA varies. Some programs take six or fewer weeks to complete, as with Premier Nursing Academy. With these fast-track programs, students usually meet all programmatic requirements within four to six weeks of enrolling. That said, some programs can take more or less time.
Students who decide to forego training and complete a prep course can finish the process in 1-2 days, while those who attend a community or career college for their training should plan to take classes for 10 months before meeting all requirements.
How much money does a CNA make in Florida?
CNA wages can vary based on where you work, how much experience you possess, and where you live. That said, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that nursing assistants working in the Sunshine State in 2020 earned average hourly wages of $13.78, or $28,660 per year.
The top 10% of earners in Florida made $37,830 or more, and the bottom 10% earned $21,530 or less. In Bradenton and Sarasota, two of the top-paying cities for CNAs, 10% earned more than $40,000 annually.
How can you verify your Florida CNA certification?
The Florida Board of Nursing lets you verify your Florida CNA certification or, in the case of a hiring manager, verify the certification of a potential new employee. After visiting the main website, look for a button that says Lookup: Verify a License. On this page, you enter the license number, name, city, state, zip code, and license status.
Premier Nursing Academy Locations in Florida
Premier Nursing Academy is excited to offer our high-quality, 100% free instruction model to CNA candidates in Florida. Our first location in Florida opened in Pinellas Park in July 2019, followed by Bradenton. We are excited for our upcoming launch of a new campus in Jacksonville, and we look forward to launching additional locations to serve more of Florida’s candidate trainees and employers.
More Resources for CNAs in Florida:
- The Tampa Nursing Student’s Resource Guide
- The St. Petersburg Nursing Student’s Resource Guide
- The Bradenton Nursing Student’s Resource Guide
- Best ADN Programs in Florida