Exams for CNA License

To become a certified nursing assistant, one is desired to take CNA classes, mostly from an accredited school or college or a stable institution like a nursing home or a recognized hospital that offers a CNA training program for students. Taking classes through an accredited institution renders recognition as a certified nursing assistant and after certification, helps in getting the CNA license too. There are certain rules and regulations regarding the CNA classes and CNA license which include the type of classes taken (offline / online), classroom sessions attended, practical or clinical sessions attended, hands-on training completed, results for the exam of the state (passed / failed), etc.

If one wants to apply for the CNA license, one should accomplish the training program for the same and then give the CNA certification exam which is also known as National Nurse Aide Assessment Program exam (NNAAP). On passing the exam, one becomes eligible to get the certification and apply for the license further. This exam is the same for the certification as well as the license. It is designed so as to evaluate the knowledge, skills and abilities of the student that are required to be possessed for continuing the practice as a nursing assistant. The evaluation takes place in 2 forms out of which one deals with the written or technical knowledge test and the other one deals with the practical or clinical skills of the students. Those students, who clear both the tests, are only eligible for the position of the entry-level nursing assistant. They can then apply for the certificate and license too. The CNA license exam is approved by the state and the federal government and thus, has recognition.

CNA License Examination Pattern

  • The exam has 2 tests - technical / theory based upon the course taken in classroom sessions and practical / clinical based upon the clinical skills of students developed during the hands-on training sessions
  • Technical test paper consists of a specified number of multiple choice questions (MCQs in English only) and this number may vary from state to state
  • Some students find it difficult to solve the paper in English, so some of the states also provide an alternative of oral exam in other languages for the convenience of those students
  • Practical test consists of any 5 random clinical tasks to be performed successfully by the students, within the given specified time
  • The CNA instructor will be present there during both the tests to monitor each and every task of the students

The Technical / Theory Part which needs to be revised

  • All the course material that has been taught in the classroom sessions
  • All the related material available, that may help during the technical and clinical test

The Clinical Tasks to be practiced

  • Washing of hands, cleanliness practices
  • Assisting ambulate using transfer belt
  • Assisting the use of bedpan
  • Cleaning of dentures
  • Counting and recording of pulse rate, respiratory rate
  • Feeding and dressing
  • Measuring and recording blood pressure, urinary output
  • Bed making (occupied / unoccupied)
  • Repositioning the patient
  • Providing mouth care
  • Providing catheter care for female patients
  • Transferring patient from the bed to wheel chair and vice versa
  • Communicating with patients

Some of the websites and medical or health science institutions also provide with the practice tests for CNA exam. Websites or institutions offering online classes also offer to give free online practice tests. Students can try getting such practice tests so as to be comfortable during the final CNA exam.

Results of the CNA License Exam

The results of the CNA license exam are out online only and thus, students have to check out for them online. If one passes both the tests, then it is definitely possible to get the certification and the license too. If one passes one of the 2 tests and fails in another one, then a retest is taken for that paper only. If one fails in both the tests, then retest comes for both the papers. Most of the states permit the students to challenge the exam 3 times within the completion of the CNA training program. Retraining becomes mandatory, when a student fails to clear the exam even for 3 consecutive times. A few institutions offer free CNA classes for the repeaters from the same institution.

In short, students have to take CNA classes and successfully pass the state approved exam to get the certification and the license.

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