CNA Certification

After completing a state-approved certified nurse’s assistant training program, you can sit for a CNA certification exam. Requirements to be eligible for the exam can vary from state to state, so it is essential to check with your state’s board of nursing to ensure you have taken all the appropriate steps before test day!

The CNA certification exam consists of two parts, a written exam and a skills evaluation. Each portion is graded separately, and you must pass both parts to become a certified CNA. The testing process can be nerve-wracking, so here is everything you need to know about the CNA certification exam.

The Written Test

The written part of the exam is administered online or in a testing center and consists of 60 to 100 multiple-choice questions. The exam will ask questions regarding patient care, safety, documentation, and other topics covered during lectures. You are allotted two hours to complete the written test. Many states require you to pass the written exam before moving on to the skills test.

The Skills Test

The skills test portion of the certification exam is used to evaluate your ability to perform the correct methods of patient care. The skills test will be administered and evaluated by a testing administrator. Most states allow up to 30 minutes to complete the skills portion of the exam. You will be asked to complete the procedures on a medical dummy, an administrative staff member, or another CNA candidate.

During the skills test, you will be asked to complete the procedures on a medical dummy, an administrative staff member, or another CNA candidate. The administrator will typically ask you to demonstrate three to six procedures to ensure you can safely perform patient care. You will not know the procedures you will be asked to demonstrate until they are asked of you, so it is essential to be prepared.

Some of the skills or procedures you should prepare to demonstrate include:

  • Handwashing
  • Measuring vital signs such as blood pressure, temperature, pulse, and respiration
  • Transferring patients between a wheelchair and a hospital bed
  • Repositioning patients in bed
  • Feeding a patient
  • Catheter care
  • Washing a patient while in bed
  • A range of motion exercises
  • Dressing a patient
  • Administering oral care to patients with dentures
  • Caring for fingernails and toenails
  • Applying elastic support stockings
  • Taking care of bedpans or other toileting tasks

Tips To Help You Prepare for the Exam

Here are five essential tips to help you prepare for both the written and skills portions of the CNA exam:

  1. Review your lecture notes and textbook
  2. Take a few practice exams
  3. Find a study partner to help you prepare and review skills
  4. Ensure your fingernails are trimmed and free of polish
  5. Have confidence in yourself and take your time

What Comes Next?

Once you pass your CNA certification exam, you will be ready to apply for your state CNA license. Each state has different licensure requirements, but once you have fulfilled all requirements, you can begin working as a certified nurse assistant. Working as a certified nurse assistant is a fulfilling job full of potential. All you have to do is prepare and pass your exam!