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CNA Training in Tennessee

While Tennessee is known for its Southern beauty, it is also one of the most beloved places for music lovers. Nashville, the capital, is the best place to go to hear the latest country music at the Grand Ole Opry or to remember legends at the County Music Hall of Fame. Further south in the state lies Memphis, known for being the home of Elvis Presley and Graceland. Whether one loves music or not, Tennessee is an excellent place for compassionate CNAs looking for a place to find secure jobs in which they can grow. Of the 6.5 million residents, 985,000 are over the age 65, and 111,000 are over the age of 85.

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Tennessee Facts

– Capital: Nashville
– Minimum Wage: $7.25
– Number of Hospitals: 130
– Number of Nursing Homes: 37,140


– Total Population: 6,549,352
– Population (ages 45-64): 1,738,997
– Population (ages 65+): 985,700
– Population (ages 85+): 111,140

Top Colleges & Unversities

– Vanderbilt University
– Sewanee – University of the South
– Rhodes College

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in TN

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CNA Training Requirements

Taking the Test (Procedure)

Out-of-State Applicants

Renewing & Expired Certification

Applications & Forms

Contacts & Additional Resources

The Tennessee Department of Health oversees CNA training in the state and mandates the number of hours required for study before becoming certified. The state holds to the federal minimum of 75 hours of combined classroom and clinical training. Of these, at least 35 hours must be spent in a local health care setting practicing one’s skills under the direct supervision of a licensed nurse. However, the state allows students to work at licensed facilities for up to 120 days while they attend training classes and take the competency examination.

Student nurses who have learned basic nursing skills may apply to the Department of Health for training exemption. In addition, military-trained health care personnel are not required to train. Rather, these individuals can challenge the competency examination.

All other students must enroll in a state-approved CNA training program. Tennessee does not place any age or educational restrictions on CNA students. However, certain training programs or future employers might; therefore, it is in a student’s best interest to have a high school diploma or GED. Students will also need to undergo state and federal criminal background checks and have two sets of fingerprints taken. They will need up-to-date immunization records and negative tuberculosis screenings from the past six months before providing direct patient care. In addition, they must hold CPR cards and liability insurance. They must also be able to handle the physical requirements of a CNA, such as long hours on one’s feet and the ability to lift 40 pounds.

The Tennessee Department of Health uses D&S Diversified Technologies to administer the state’s CNA competency examinations. The test consists of two parts, which are the written or oral test and the skills test. Some testing sites use WebETest, which is a computerized version of the written test. The written section tests CNA theory and has 75 multiple-choice questions that must be answered in 90 minutes or less. To pass, students must score at least a 75 percent. The test may be taken in English or Spanish or may be taken orally with the use of a tape. The oral version includes ten additional questions in English that must be answered without using the tape.

The skills test is performed in front of a registered nurse evaluator. All students will be required to perform four randomly assigned CNA skills in front of the evaluator as well as demonstrate hand washing. Students will have 35 minutes to perform all of the skills. All five tasks must be performed correctly to pass this portion of the test.

Both sections of the examination must be passed within two years from the end of training to avoid having to retake a training program. Candidates who take a computer-based test will find out their scores the next day. Those taking a traditional written test will find out their scores via mail. The cost to take either the written or oral examination is $30, and the cost for the skills examination is $60.

Out-of-state CNAs may be able to transfer their certifications to Tennessee should they move here. CNAs must have active licenses in good standing with their former states. However, CNAs from Florida and North Carolina will be required to retrain and retest in Tennessee. In addition, CNAs from Georgia, Alabama and Illinois will need to retake the competency examination. CNAs from all other states can fill out the Out-of-State Nurse Aide Registration Application and send it to their previous states for verification. CNAs from California, Colorado, Missouri or Illinois will send the form to the Tennessee Registry instead. They will also need to include a copy of a photo ID, social security card, and previous CNA certification. Reciprocity is free.

Tennessee CNAs must renew their certifications every two years, but they must not renew more than one month prior to the expiration date listed on their certifications. Renewal reminders will be mailed out by the Department of Health prior to this date. In order to renew, CNAs must be in good standing with the state with no accusations of patient abuse or neglect against their names. In addition, they must have worked at least an eight-hour shift in the past 24 months. They will need to send in a pay stub, payroll printout or notarized attestation form with their renewal paperwork. Only work done in a licensed health care facility counts toward renewal. Renewal is free.

Employment Information for TN

Average Salary for CNAs in TN

The average yearly salary for a CNA in Tennessee is on the lower end of the payment spectrum when compared to the entire United States, but CNAs have many opportunities here to advance their careers. The income per capita in Tennessee is $24,409, and the average CNA makes $22,830 per year or $10.98 per hour.

Job Outlook in TN

Tennessee currently boasts 29,000 job openings for CNAs throughout the state. Many of these jobs are found in the 130 hospitals and 37,140 nursing homes in Tennessee, but others are located in assisted living centers, home health agencies and even memory care units. The need for CNAs here is expected to rise astronomically in the next decade as the 1.7 million individuals between the ages of 45 and 65 continue to age.

Employment Opportunities

Top Hospitals in TN
Hospital NameAddressCityStateZipPhoneWebsite
Vanderbilt University Medical Center1211 22nd Avenue NorthNashvilleTN37232615-322-5000Website
University Of Tennessee Medical Center1924 Alcoa HighwayKnoxvilleTN37920865-305-9000Website
Methodist Hospitals Of Memphis1265 Union AvenueMemphisTN38104901-516-7000Website
Memorial Health Care2525 De Sales AvenueChattanoogaTN37404423-495-2525Website
St. Thomas Hospital4220 Harding RoadNashvilleTN37205615-222-2111Website
Athens Regional Medical Center1114 West Madison AvenueAthensTN37303423-745-1411Website
Baptist Hospital2000 Church StreetNashvilleTN37236615-284-5555Website
Baptist Memorial Hospital-Collierville1500 West Poplar AvenueColliervilleTN38017901-861-9400Website
Baptist Memorial Hospital For Women6225 Humphreys BoulevardMemphisTN38120901-227-9000Website
Baptist Memorial Hospital-Huntingdon631 R.B. Wilson DriveHuntingdonTN38344731-986-4461Website
Baptist Memorial Hospital-Memphis6019 Walnut Grove RoadMemphisTN38120901-226-5000Website
Baptist Memorial Hospital-Tipton1995 Highway 51 SouthCovingtonTN38019901-476-2621Website
Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union City1201 Bishop StreetUnion CityTN38261731-885-2410Website
Baptist Rehabilitation-Germantown2100 Exeter RoadGermantownTN38138901-757-1350Website
Behavioral Healthcare Center At Columbia1400 Rosewood DriveColumbiaTN38401931-388-6573Website
Blount Memorial Hospital907 East Lamar Alexander ParkwayMaryvilleTN37804865-983-7211Website
Bolivar General Hospital650 Nuckolls RoadBolivarTN38008731-658-3100Website
Centennial Medical Center2300 Patterson StreetNashvilleTN37203615-342-1000Website

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