Once you have completed the certification program required to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), you will need to take the CNA exam to earn a license. In order to pass this test, you will need to have a good grasp of the information you learned while going through the CNA program. The Certified Nursing Assistant exam is made up of two sections. One section is the written examination, and the other is the clinical skills test, often referred to as the CNA skills test. You will need to pass both sections, with each typically requiring a score of 70-80% or better to pass depending on your state.
The CNA schools displayed in this section offer tuition-based programs.
The written portion will be multiple choice and will be taken on a computer. The clinical skills test will be performed in front of an evaluator. You will demonstrate the skills for the evaluator, making sure to correctly show the critical duties of each skill you are demonstrating. Depending on your location, the skills test for CNAs may cover three to six different practices required of nursing aides. Although there may only be a few skills which are needed to show proficiency during this portion of the test, aspiring nurses should know that the test designators can choose from around thirty different practical tasks that Certified Nursing Aides should be able to perform.
The video below provides some helpful tips for passing the CNA skills test. If you’ve failed the test previously, or if you’re taking the test for the first time, there are some helpful tips here to help you prepare for exam day.
Depending on your state, you may also have to record a measurement. Items that may be measured include:
- Blood Pressure
- Urinary output
- Radial pulse
Actual “patients” or “clients” are utilized within this testing scenario. It will be important to interact with and speak with that subject as if they are a real patient. Test takers should brush up on the proper way to wash hands. Nursing aides will be expected to perform proper sanitary practices, including disposing of waste. Cleanliness is not only required of the aide but also the patient. Before going in to take the skills test, it is critical to make sure you carry a positive attitude and demeanor. This may go along way on the examination portion of the test also; potentially showing the examiner that the patient is in good hands. Just like the skills that are needed to pass the CNA skills test, communication can be practiced each time the prospective nursing aide is in a position to do so.
While more direct skills like moving patients from bed-to-bed and placing in the correct body position demand a thorough understanding by a Certified Nursing Aide, they should also understand that patients benefit from kindness and care as well. On top of this, anticipating what is required during each duty without having the examiner step in may potentially impress those watching, including the patient. It is important to understand that the test is practical and there are reasons for being proficient in what is needed by a Certified Nursing Aide. Not only will this make for a better CNA, but a safer one as well.
State Specific Requirements for CNAs
It is important to note that you need to complete CNA classes that are approved by the state where you wish to earn your license and practice. Each state will have a list of approved CNA course programs they recognize, so make sure you select a school that is certified in your state. You can find out more information on your state’s requirements on our state by state CNA classes page.
The skills test for CNA applicants will vary by state as different states utilize different testing providers, and each provider may test you on different skills. Testing providers by state are listed below, followed by the list of skills tested by each provider.
- American Red Cross, approved university, or private entities: IL, IN, KY, MA, ME, UT, WV
- Headmaster: AZ, MT, ND, NH, NJ, NV, OH, OR, SD, TN, VT
- Pearson VUE: AL, AK, CA, CO, DC, GA, LA, MD, MN, MS, NH, NC, ND, PA, RI, SC, TX, VA, VT, WA, WI, WY
- Prometric: AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, HI, ID, LA, MI, NM, NY, OK, WY
|Hand Hygiene (Hand Washing)||x*||x*||x|
|Applies one knee-high elastic stocking||x||x|
|Assists to ambulate using transfer belt||x||x*||x|
|Assists with use of bedpan||x||x||x|
|Cleans upper or lower denture||x||x||x|
|Counts and records radial pulse||x||x||x|
|Counts and records respirations||x||x||x|
|Donning and removing PPE (gown and gloves)||x|
|Dresses client with affected arm||x||x|
|Feeds client who cannot feed self||x||x||x|
|Gives modified bed bath (face and one arm, hand and underarm)||x||x|
|Measures and records blood pressure||x||x|
|Empty, measure and record urinary output||x||x|
|Measures and records weight of ambulatory client||x||x|
|Performs modified passive range of motion (PROM) for one knee and one ankle||x||x|
|Performs modified passive range of motion (PROM) for one shoulder||x||x|
|Positions client on side||x||x||x|
|Provides catheter care for female||x||x|
|Provides foot care on one foot||x||x|
|Provides mouth care||x||x||x|
|Provides perineal care (PERI-CARE) for female||x||x|
|Transfers from bed to wheelchair using transfer belt||x||x||x|
|Change bed linen while the resident remains in bed (not tested in Wyoming)||x||x|
|Provide hand and nail care||x||x|
|Gives partial bed bath and back rub||x|
|Provide resident with passive range of motion (ROM) exercises to one elbow and wrist||x|
|Ambulation with cane or walker||x|
|Mouthcare of a comatose client||x|
|Passing fresh water||x|
|Range of motion exercise||x|
|Transfer from wheelchair to bed using a gait belt||x|
* Indicates a required skill
Another thing to point out is that not all states use the term ‘Certified Nursing Assistant’. In some states, this position is referred to as a ‘Nursing Aide’ instead. This could cause some confusion when you are researching things for your specific state, so just keep this in mind in the event you see it referred to as a ‘Nursing Aide’ instead.
Once you pass your state issued CNA exam, you will then be a licensed CNA. In order to keep that license active, you may need to complete a continuing education course every two years. Whether or not you need to complete this course will be determined by the state you work in. Before paying for this course, check with your employer and find out if they offer continuing education subsidization. Most employers will end up reimbursing their CNA for this fee once they pass the continuing education course. You can find out more about continuing education on the CNA Zone website.
As you prepare for the skills test, it’s important to remember that the tests are conducted in a clinical setting and replicate a sample patient experience. Thus, it is important to have a strong grasp of all hands-on skills that you may have to demonstrate competency in.
CNA Skills You May Be Tested On
- Hand Hygiene
- Applying knee-high elastic stockings
- Bedpan assistance
- Ambulation using a transfer belt
- Denture cleaning
- Recording a radial pulse
- Counting and recording respirations
- Dressing clients with weak or injured arms
- Feeding patients
- Assisting with bed baths
- Recording and measurement of patient or client blood pressure, weight, and urinary output
- Patient side positioning
- Foot care
- Providing mouth care
- Perineal care
- Moving the patient from a wheelchair to a bed using a transfer belt
Tips for the CNA Skills Test
We’ve compiled a number of tips from people who have passed the exam, and you may find many of these useful as you work through your CNA skills test practice routine.
- Make absolutely certain that you have the handwashing procedure down to a science. If you fail the handwashing skill you’ll fail the exam. Make absolutely certain that you do each step in the proper order and for the proper duration.
- Practice all of your measurements – blood pressure, urinary output, weight, radial pulse, and respiration
- Make certain you know the bold steps and complete them properly. Missing these will lead to failure.Practice on another person. Let them have the step by step instructions for the skill. Have them stop you and correct you when you make a mistake. You want to get to a point that you can perform the skills by muscle memory. Write down or highlight steps that you struggle with and drill them continuously up to the day of your test.
- Almost every skill starts with introducing yourself and explaining the procedure facing the patient, and finishes with ensuring that the signalling device is within reach, the bed is in low position, and you must wash your hands. If you can remember this useful tip it will knock out several steps you’ll need to remember for most of your skills.
- On the day of the exam, you’ll receive the list of skills you’ll need to demonstrate. Calm yourself and focus on those skills and begin running yourself through your mental checklist for each skill before you begin. Once you successfully run through the list, you’ll be confident when you begin the exam.
- If you’re unfamiliar with any equipment that you’ve had little access to practicing with, be sure to ask questions before the exam begins. You will not be allowed to ask questions once the test has started.
Preparation for becoming certified and passing the skills test will occur during on the job clinical experience. Despite having prior exposure to these potential test requirements, potential nursing aides must have the ability to practice the skills outside of the healthcare facility before being asked to do them in front of an examiner. These skills CNAs are required to demonstrate are not simply to pass the test, but are required for the proper care of those in need. Therefore, it is recommended that applicants for certification do their homework before going in to take the test.
Many people find that creating their own CNA skills study guide can prove helpful to their eventual score. It’s important to be able to memorize and successfully perform the steps of each skill, so creating flash cards with each step can be an effective way to really hammer home the details of each of the skills a CNA is expected to have down pat. Another good way to brush up on these hands-on patient/client skills is to watch CNA test skills videos. A listing of more of these videos can be found here.
It is a good idea to spend some time performing the critical skills you will need to know as a CNA. To do so, you can practice with family or friends to get comfortable performing these tasks on clients. Put together a checklist and give it to your friend or family member prior to starting. List each step required for a particular skill and have that person let you know if you miss a step. Practice at home, at school, at work, etc. You want these skills to become second nature to you, prior to even taking the exam. Practice the steps for each of them often. Your attention to the patient, their rights, their safety, and their needs should be your priority. During the actual exam, the evaluators are going to be watching to make sure you are attentive to your patient’s needs.
Because you will need all the hands-on practice you can get, consider finding places to volunteer or intern with. Get with the nursing assistant instructor and find out if they will let you spend some time in that room practicing as well. Also, some Red Cross locations offer practice testing materials. You can check here to find out more details from your local American Red Cross testing center.
Remember practice, practice, practice!
CNA Skills Test FAQ
As a CNA practices their skills prior to taking the test, they often have a lot of questions. We’ll try to answer some of the more common ones we’ve heard.
Is the CNA skills test hard?
Many people fail the skills test on the first try, so it would be unfair to say that it’s easy. That said, most people find the test to be easier after becoming more comfortable with the format of the test and overcoming their nerves. If you search message boards around the web you’ll find that many aspiring CNAs used their first failure as a tool to help them succeed on their next attempt.
How many times can you take the CNA skills test?
Unfortunately, many people will not pass the CNA skills test on the first try. The exam is difficult, and that’s why most states will allow you to take the test three times within two years of completing your CNA program.
How long does the CNA skills test take?
The skills test usually takes 25-30 minutes depending on you provider. Typically you’ll be asked to perform five skills during your skills test.
What score is needed to pass the CNA skills test?
The passing score for the CNA skills test is somewhere between 70% and 80% depending on the state where you’re seeking certification and the provider administering your skills test.
How is the CNA skills test graded?
When you demonstrate the individual skills during the test, the Nurse Aide Evaluator will run through a checklist for each skill marking down any deficiencies you have for that skill. A typical passing score is somewhere between 70-80% depending on your state. Not every element is scored equally, with certain steps (sometimes called “bold steps”) being critical elements for passing a certain skill.
Need a practice exam to help you prepare for the written test?
If you need some assistance with passing the written exam, you might want to check out our CNA practice tests to help you prepare.
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How many questions are on the CNA written test Washington State? ›
The written CNA examination is 75 multiple-choice questions while the clinical skills exam is 3-4 selected skills.How many questions are on the Florida CNA exam? ›
The Written test consists of 60 multiple-choice questions that evaluate your nursing assistant knowledge and skills. You will have 90 minutes to take the test.How many skills are on the CNA exam in Florida? ›
During training, you learn many skills that are important in caring for residents. There are 22 skills that are part of the Clinical Skills Test.How many questions are on the NC CNA exam? ›
You must pass both parts in order to become listed on the North Carolina Nurse Aide I Registry. The written examination consists of seventy (70) multiple- choice questions written in English. Sample examination questions are provided in this handbook.
Is the CNA Exam Hard? The exam can be hard if Nursing Assistants do not have the knowledge and skills needed to pass the exam. The written or oral section of the exam may consist of approximately 70 questions, but the exact number of questions varies by state.What do I need to know for my CNA exam? ›
- Indirect care.
- Measuring blood pressure.
- Measuring body temperature.
- Measuring and recording pulse.
- Measuring and recording respiration.
- Measuring the output from a urinary bag.
- Ambulation with a gait belt.
How many steps can I miss and still pass the CNA skills test? While a 70-80 percent is a passing score depending on your state, you must complete all of the crucial steps in the skills test correctly to pass. Because executing them correctly is vital, you must be ready for all 30 skills.How many times can you take the Florida CNA exam? ›
If you fail one portion of the test three times within a two-year period, you will have to do a state-approved training program that is at least 120 hours long. You will then need to take both the written and clinical tests again. or equal to “challenge” the exam without completion of an approved training program.What score do you need to pass the CNA exam in Florida? ›
The written exam questions are based on the Florida state approved test plan. You must score a 72% or higher to pass the written exam.How do you memorize CNA skills? ›
- Practice your skills as taught by your instructor and as demonstrated in your text book. ...
- With each skill you perform during your test, remember to introduce yourself. ...
- Get a good night's sleep before your test. ...
- Eat a good meal before your test.
How is the CNA skills test graded? ›
Your evaluator will provide you a grade based on your performance during the selected list of skills. As you demonstrate each skill, the nurse aide evaluator will review the checklist for each skill and record any deficiencies you may have.Is CNA training hard? ›
The training process can be time consuming, and you might not be able to work during your CNA program if you're attending full-time. You'll likely have to spend between 75 and 180 hours studying to learn new skills, which can also be difficult if you have children or other personal responsibilities.What is on the final exam for CNA? ›
Subjects that will be included in the test are: CNA Roles, Observation, Reporting and Abbreviations, Safety and Managing Behavior, Emergencies, Personal Care Skills, Infection Control and Blood Borne Pathogens, Caring for All Ages, Common Physical and Emotional Problems, Care of the Dying Person at the End of Life and ...Is the CNA exam multiple choice? ›
The Written Test (Nurse Assistant Written Knowledge Examination) consists of sixty (60) multiple-choice questions with a two-hour time limit. Same day test results are provided.Can you take the CNA test without classes in NC? ›
Consistent with Rule 10A NCAC 13O . 0301, to be listed on the North Carolina Nurse Aide I Registry, all individuals must complete, at minimum, a state-approved, 75-hour basic nurse aide training course and pass the Nurse Aide I Competency Examination.Where are the highest paying CNA jobs? ›
While Alaska boasts the highest average salary for CNAs, the state also maintains a high cost of living, as do other top states, including New York, California, Hawaii, and Massachusetts. The cities that offer the highest CNA salaries are all located in California.Can you become a CNA online? ›
Can I get a CNA license online? Many programs offer CNA classes online. However, learners must complete an in-person clinical. They may fulfill this requirement at a hospital or other healthcare setting.What is indirect care? ›
Indirect care intervention is a treatment performed away from the patient, but on his/her behalf or on behalf of a group of patients, where these actions support the overall effectiveness of direct care interventions(5).Is the CNA written exam hard Reddit? ›
The written exam was 50 questions, it was not difficult as long as you knew the definition of quite a few terms. I just reviewed the terms 3-4 times and took about 3 mock tests. Passed with a 46/50. It was done through Prometric on computers.How much is the CNA test in Texas? ›
CNA Exam Cost Broken Down:
$104 - Written & Skills Evaluation. $104 - Oral & Skills Evaluation. $27 - Written Exam only. $27 - Oral Exam only.
Which of the following is the most appropriate time to use a soft Toothette? ›
Which of the following is the most appropriate time to use a soft toothette? When giving an unconscious resident mouth care. A resident is recovering from a stroke and has weakness in their left side.What are the bold steps in CNA skills test? ›
- Skill 1 Hand washing. Don't re-contaminate.
- Skill 2 Ambulation with a gait belt. Lock bed brakes. ...
- Skill 3 Ambulation with walker. Lock bed brakes. ...
- Skill 4 Backrub. Raise opposite side working rail.
- Skill 5 Bedpan and Output. ...
- Skill 6 Blood pressure. ...
- Skill 7 Catheter Care. ...
- Skill *8 Denture care.
- Patient personal care.
- Infection control.
- Communications and behavior.
- Environment control.
- Safety and rehabilitation.
- Special procedures.
The final quiz score and scores for body system project, participation, and final written exam are averaged for the final class grade. Final grade must be 75 or higher to pass training program. IN ADDITION, students must pass the Skills Final exam with a score of 85% or higher to pass training program.What happens if you fail the CNA exam three times? ›
If you are unsuccessful after three attempts, you will need to retrain at a state approved CNA program and then restart the testing process after training. While it's always good to have a backup plan just in case you don't pass, there are several steps you can take that will help you ace the test.Can I take CNA test without classes in Florida? ›
Requirements. A state-approved training program is not required prior to examination. A high school diploma or its equivalent, or be 18 years of age, is required if the applicant is challenging the exam without completion of an approved training program.How long does CNA certification last? ›
CNA License & Certification Renewals
CNA certification typically lasts for 2 years. The certification is renewable upon submission of a renewal form and fee as long as the CNA has maintained employment during this time (the exact number of employment hours to be eligible will differ by state).
Once you have finished your training course and passed the exam, then you can register at your local nurse aide registry as a certified nursing assistant. The cost involved in this is usually included with the exam pass. The overall cost of the training will be about $1,000 to $1,500.How long does it take to be a CNA in Florida? ›
You must complete a Board approved CNA training program (full 120 hour program) and retake both parts of the exam. You can find a list of approved training programs at https://floridasnursing.gov/education-and-training-programs/.Can you be a CNA at 17 in Florida? ›
The Florida Board of Nursing establishes the requirements for CNAs to become certified in the state. To start a CNA training program, you need to be at least 18 years old, or have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
How long should a back massage last CNA? ›
Check the resident's back first, checking for any abnormalities, such as lesions or cuts. Apply lotion to your hands. Working in a circular motion, around the resident's spine. Perform the massage for 3-5 minutes.When positioning a resident on their side you should? ›
CNA Skill: Positioning Resident on Side - YouTubeWhat does CNA stand for? ›
Certified nursing assistants may also be called a nursing assistant, a nurse's aid, or a patient care assistant. CNAs work directly with patients and nurses, helping with the many physical and complex tasks for patient care.What color scrubs does a CNA wear? ›
Certified nursing assistants typically wear either white or royal blue scrubs. Both of these colors are on the more traditional side.What is 932 form CNA? ›
A: CDPH 932 is the form number that you will find in the bottom left hand corner of the Certified Nurse Assistant Competency Evaluation Approval letter that you receive from the state.When feeding a resident who is lying in bed the head of the bed is raised to? ›
|When feeding a resident who is lying in bed, the head of the bed is raised to||Decrease the risk of aspiration|
|A residents care plan provides the nurse aide with information about||Specific care required for the resident and the goals of care|
The hardest part was that the work was physically demanding. It requires much lifting, turning etc of bed ridden patients as well as helping to transfer chair bound patients.Should I be a CNA before RN? ›
Do You Have to Become a CNA Before an RN? While there are many advantages to becoming a CNA before an RN, it is important to understand that you do not have to become a CNA first. In fact, many of today's new nurses choose to pursue their RN degrees immediately after high school, for various reasons.What are the pros and cons of being a CNA? ›
- Pro: Short training time. ...
- Mixed pro and con: Pay. ...
- Con: Limited room for advancement. ...
- Pro: Job opportunities. ...
- Con: Physically demanding. ...
- Pro: Physical activity. ...
- Con: Emotionally demanding. ...
- Pro: Emotionally rewarding.
Accurate measurement of 24-hour intake and output helps validate weight findings. Averaged urine output of less than 30 mL/hour or 0.5mL/hr/kg of concentrated urine should be reported to the provider. Vital signs should be analyzed. An elevated blood pressure and bounding pulses are often seen with fluid volume excess.
What senses are used by a CNA to observe patients? ›
The five senses are sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch. Nursing assistants use sight, hearing and touch to observe their patients and residents. They use sight to read blood pressures and to see if the person is sleeping.Which of the following is the correct way to remove a gown? ›
First, release the tie, then grasp the gown at the hip area, and pull the gown down and away from the sides of your body. Once the gown is off your shoulders, pull one arm at a time from the sleeves of the gown so that the gown arms are bunched at your wrists.What score do you need to pass the CNA written exam in Texas? ›
For the written (knowledge) test, you must correctly answer more than 80 percent to pass the exam. Reviewing your notes and practicing your skills are good measures to prepare for success.When taking the patient's radial pulse The first time you find that his pulse rate is 45 bpm Which of the following actions should you take next? ›
When taking the patient's radial pulse the first time, you find that his pulse rate is 45 BPM. Which of the following actions should you take next? Your answer of You should recount the patient's pulse for 60 seconds was correct.What is a soft Toothette? ›
Description. Our Toothette Oral Swabs are trusted by nurses to gently massage the gums while removing bits of food and plaque and excess fluid. The individually wrapped swabs have perpendicular ridges to help clean between teeth.How much do Cnas make in NC an hour? ›
|Years of experience||Per hour|
|1 to 2 years||$18.09|
|3 to 5 years||$19.05|
|6 to 9 years||$19.53|
|More than 10 years||$21.52|
North Carolina's nurse assistants have up to two years or three attempts to pass the NNAAP exam for placement on the North Carolina Nurse Aide Registry. The written portion of the exam will most likely be administered first. The two-hour test will contain 70 questions in multiple-choice format.How long after CNA class do you have to take state test in Washington? ›
If a candidate trained in Washington:
After successfully graduating from a licensed training program, the candidate may apply to take the Washington state competency exam up to four times. There is no time limit on when a candidate may apply to take the competency exam.
CNA applicants have to complete a Washington state-approved, licensed program with a minimum of 85 hours of training to receive a certificate.How much CNA Get Paid in Washington state? ›
The average Certified Nursing Assistant salary in Washington is $36,586 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $33,344 and $40,400.
How long does it take to get a CNA license in Washington state? ›
Applicants must complete a minimum of 85 hours of training through a state-approved program.How long does CNA certification last? ›
CNA License & Certification Renewals
CNA certification typically lasts for 2 years. The certification is renewable upon submission of a renewal form and fee as long as the CNA has maintained employment during this time (the exact number of employment hours to be eligible will differ by state).
Can I get a CNA license online? Many programs offer CNA classes online. However, learners must complete an in-person clinical. They may fulfill this requirement at a hospital or other healthcare setting.How do you keep CNA license active in Washington? ›
Once you obtain your license, you need to renew it every year. Washington State CNA renewal is straightforward if you complete it on time and meet the minimum requirements. Your license expires every year on your birthday and must be renewed before then.How long is a CNA course in Washington? ›
In Washington, CNA candidates must complete a minimum of 85 hours of classes in a state-approved CNA program. There is a combination of both classroom and learning in a clinical structure. In Washington State, 7 of the 85 hours must consist of an HIV/AIDS classes.Can I transfer my CNA license to Washington? ›
If you hold an active Nursing Assistant Certification in another state, you may qualify for certification in Washington by endorsement. Submit application and fee. Provide caregiver employment history from the state you're endorsing from by completing section four of the application.How much does it cost to renew CNA license in Washington? ›
Need to Renew? Every two years, nurses may apply for renewal of their Washington DC nursing license and pay a $145 renewal fee online.What's the most a CNA can make an hour? ›
While ZipRecruiter is seeing hourly wages as high as $24.76 and as low as $8.89, the majority of CNA wages currently range between $12.98 (25th percentile) to $18.03 (75th percentile) across the United States.How can I make more money as a CNA? ›
- Intensive Care Unit (ICU) ...
- Operating Room. ...
- Telemetry. ...
- Emergency Room. ...
- Medicine and Surgery. ...
- Get hired.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average income for CNAs in Florida in 2021 was $29,840 per year or $14.35 per hour.
How much are CNAs paid in Seattle? ›
How much does a Certified Nursing Assistant make in Seattle, WA? The average Certified Nursing Assistant salary in Seattle, WA is $37,456 as of September 26, 2022, but the range typically falls between $34,137 and $41,361.How old do you have to be to be a CNA in Washington? ›
Before you apply for CNA classes
Age requirements vary from state to state. In Washington, you must be 18 to work as a CNA. If you know you want to pursue a career in the medical industry while you are in high school, taking classes like biology and anatomy will help prepare you for what is next.
Certified Nursing Assistants, or CNAs, provide direct care to patients in hospitals, nursing homes and home care. As a vital part of a larger care team, Certified Nursing Assistants help patients with a wide range of basic needs, including eating, bathing, grooming, mobility and more.