CNA Certification Exam

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A minimum of a high school diploma or equivalent GED is required to get admission in most of the CNA training programs. Typically these courses are offered by local hospitals programs, trade schools or community colleges. Usually it takes 3 weeks to 6 months to complete these programs. In order to become a Certified Nursing Assistant, candidates must take and successfully pass the state-approved exam. The CNA certification exams include two parts: clinical and written skills. The contents of these examinations may vary from one state to another. Application fees and processes, requirements to take the exam, and re-testing allowances also differ by state.

The written test could be available in other languages other than English or could even be taken orally, as per the regulations of state. It might even include topics related to understanding emergency procedures, proper chart recording and reading patient vital signs. Depending upon the state requirements, applicants may also have to pass a criminal background check, drug test and physical exam. As soon as these requirements are fulfilled, candidates are enlisted to the state’s Nurse Aide Registry and they get to practice legally.

Components of CNA Certification Test

Though the examinations vary in each state, they all include clinical and written skills sections. Each of the section examines the basic care giving knowledge of candidates, including hygiene, patient safety and communication.

Written Test

Generally the written section of CNA certification test include multiple choice questions, though reading comprehension questions are included in some states. The topics covered by such questions include appropriate workplace conduct, therapeutic procedures, infection control, nutrition and hygiene. Sometimes questions are also related to psychological care skills, such as spiritual, cultural, mental and emotional needs of patients. In addition, the questions examine for the applicant’s knowledge of ethical behavior, patient rights and patient communication.

Clinical Skills Test

The clinical portion of CNA tests involves hands-on and needs applicants to display some CNA tasks on a real life model. Skills that are tested on these exams include providing catheter care, helping patients with range of motion exercises, assisting a patient with a bedpan, bathing and dressing a patient, feeding, and recording and taking patient blood pressure. Depending upon the testing center and the state the skills tested on these exams may vary. Candidates are even tested on communication and interaction with patients, as well as the proper hand-washing techniques after and before contact with patient.

Applying for CNA Certification Exam

For taking the CNA certification exam, each state has its own application fees and process, and qualification requirements. Before applying for the test the candidates should have completed state-accredited nursing assistant program and be over 18. Candidates can apply for CNA test online in some states, while other states require that an application fee and form to be mailed. Applicants may need to fill out 2 forms in some states: one for the testing agency and one for the state, to be sent to two different locations. Policies regarding reapplying for those candidates who fail the test may also vary.

Guest Post by Harold Peterson
Harold Peterson is a career counselor and has been writing articles about Red Cross CNA programs since 2005. You can read more of his articles on our website.

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