After completing CNA training that meets the requirements of the state, each student must pass the CNA certification exam before being licensed or certified to work with patients in an actual clinical setting. All states require students to pass the competency exam to prove that they have the classroom theory knowledge as well as the hands-on skills to practice safe and effective patient care under the supervision of a licensed nurse.
The CNA test is usually a two-part test that is taken at a local college or regional testing site. The first part is a written knowledge exam, and the second part is a hands-on clinical skills test. Each state has different rules regarding it. For example, some require registered nurses to preside over the test while other use qualified instructors or nurse aide evaluators. The NNAAP, also called the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program, is used by 25 states and is given through Pearson VUE. Other states use Prometric or Diversified Technologies for evaluating nurse aides while others use similar versions written by their nursing board. Students will need to complete the test within six months and up to two years following training depending on their states’ specific rules.
The CNA competency examination is administered in a secure environment that has been approved by the state’s Board of Nursing or related department. Each state typically has several testing sites, which may be located at community colleges, American Red Cross locations, nursing homes or stand-alone testing centers.
The CNA certification exam can often be performed using a special computerized system that utilizes the Internet. However, even in these situations, the examination must always be given in a secure, controlled environment with approved proctors for both the written and the practical sections.
NNAAP is short for National Nurse Aide Assessment Program. The NNAAP is a CNA exam used by 25 NCSBN jurisdictions.
There is no way to tell exactly what questions will be asked on the knowledge tests. However, most testing vendors provide 60 sample questions in their CNA manuals along with the correct answers. Manuals typically list potential skills that could be tested.
The cost of the CNA exam can vary by state but typical costs are around $80-$110 to take both portions of the exam. Check with your nurse aide registry for accurate cost estimates.
Passing scores differ based on the testing vendor. However, the most popular vendor, Pearson VUE, who uses the NNAAP, requires a passing score of 80% on the written examination. Prometric, which is used by 12 states, requires a passing score of 70%.
Pearson VUE gives two hours for completion of the written examination and 30 minutes to complete the skills evaluation. Some other vendors provide 90 minutes for the written exam and 25 to 41 minutes for the skills section depending on the skills that are randomly chosen on test day.
The cost to attend CNA training may be greater than some students can handle. Many schools as well as professional nursing organizations offer scholarships to qualifying students. Scholarship applications often require the student to write an essay. Another option is Federal Student Aid, which can be easier to repay than private loans are. The Pell Grant is found at many community colleges, and the Workforce Investment Act is designed to help low-income individuals.
Some individuals may be allowed to take the CNA examination without first completing training. Depending on the individual state’s rules, student nurses, graduate nurses, foreign nurses, CNAs with expired licenses and persons with equivalent military medical training may challenge the examination.
The National Council of State Boards of Nursing uses Pearson VUE rather than the American Red Cross to administer the NNAAP. However, Red Cross uses a similar examination with the same number of questions and the same time limit that is also based on national CNA standards.
There is! And you’ve come to the right place because you can take an interactive version of the NNAAP exam right here on this page. Simple scroll to the practice exam section and take the quiz.
The NNAAP practice test is free and available for you to take right here on this page. You can also visit Asisvcs for a printable PDF version of the practice test.
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