CNA Exam and Certification Virginia

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Pass both the Written (or Oral) Examination and the Skills Evaluation and your name will be added to the Virginia Nurse Aide Registry. New nursing assistants, student nurses, and lapsed nurse assistants are eligible to apply for the exam for state certification. There are no time limits for taking the exam after graduating from an approved nursing assistant program and no restrictions on the number of times you can take the exam within a two-year timeframe. Once issued, the initial certificate is valid for one year. You must work for compensation as a CNA to renew your license and maintain your status on the Nurse Aide Registry. If you do not meet the practice requirements, you must retake the NNAAP exam to demonstrate continued competency.

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How to Apply for the NNAAP Exam Virginia

If you qualify under one of the eligibility routes listed below, you can apply to take the NNAAP Examination for certification as a Virginia Nurse Aide. Unlike other states, Virginia has no time limitation for NA graduates to take the exam after successfully completing the training requirements.

E1 – New Nursing Assistant

First-time test takers or candidates who previously failed all or part of the NNAAP exam can apply under this route after successfully completing a state-approved program. The candidate must submit a certificate of completion or an official letter from the program coordinator with the application.

E2 – Student Nurse

After completing at least one clinical course – comprising of at least 40 hours of clinical experience – a student nurse enrolled in an approved education program can apply for the NNAAP exam. An original letter from the program director attesting to your completion of the clinical training must accompany the completed application.

E3 – Graduate Nurse

Graduates of an approved registered nurse or licensed practical nurse program can submit a completed application with an original or certified copy of a school transcript to take the NNAAP exam. Foreign trained RNs or LPNs may also apply with documented confirmation from CGFNS that their training meets Virginia state requirements.

E4 – Lapsed Nurse Aide

If you hold an expired Virginia nurse aide certificate, you can apply to take the NNAAP to reinstate your license. You must first complete a renewal or reinstatement application through the Board of Nursing. Contact the Board for further details.

NNAAP applications are available at your training provider’s office or at Pearson Vue online. You are responsible for providing accurate information on the application. The address you provide on the form will become the address on record at the Nurse Aide Registry. Maintain a current address because all correspondence and notices from the Board will be mailed to the address on record.

Include the following with the completed application:

  • Documentation of your eligibility to take the exam. These may include a certificate of completion, transcript of your nursing education, or official letter from the director of the nursing school.
  • The appropriate fee for the exam. Application fees are non-refundable.
  • A certified copy of all conviction order(s) from the course and evidence that you meet all court ordered requirements if you have a criminal conviction.
  • Evidence of past treatment related to the condition and a letter of your diagnosis, treatment regiment, and compliance with treatment if you have a mental, physical, or chemical dependency condition.
  • A completed request for special accommodation based on any functional limitations you may have. Enclose an official letter from a physician or specialist documenting your disability and the type of accommodation you need.

The application and fee will be valid for 12 months from the date of approval or receipt date. The NACES will schedule an exam date after receiving a completed application, documents of eligibility, and fees, and mail your Authorization to Test Notice to the address you provided on the application.

If you’re unable to comply with the test date, you can reschedule a new date at no additional cost if you do so by noon, at least, five business days before the exam date.

If you notify NACES later than five business days and do not show up for the exam, you will be required to pay another fee for the exam.

Exam Costs

A certified check, company check, money order, and Pearson Vue voucher are the only acceptable payment methods for the exam. All payments should be made payable to NACES. The check or voucher must include your name to be applied to your examination. If you’re taking the test for the first time, pay for both the written (or oral) exam and the skills evaluation.

The fees for the exam are as follows:

  • Written Exam and Skills Evaluation – $94
  • Oral Exam and Skills Evaluation– $94
  • Written Exam Retest – $25
  • Oral Examination retest – $25
  • Skills Evaluation retest – $69

Under federal and Virginia state regulations, your nursing home employer must pay for your NNAAP exam – even if you’re retesting.

NNAAP Exam Overview Virginia

The goal of the NNAAP exam is to ensure that nursing assistants have the knowledge and technical abilities to conduct their responsibilities in nursing homes and long-term care facilities. There are two parts to the exam; the written exam tests the candidate’s understanding of the principles of care and ethical and legal obligations while the clinical exam is an assessment of the candidate’s clinical abilities. Successful candidates are those who pass an acceptable portion of the written or oral exam and all five clinical skills.

The Written Exam

The Written exam takes a pencil and paper format where candidates review the 70 multiple-choice questions in the test booklet and supply their answers on the answer sheet. The exam is two hours – a nurse aide evaluator will sound an alert 15 minutes before the exam ends.

The NE will provide instructions before the exam begins. At the conclusion of the exam, you must leave all materials in the examination room. A new content outline takes effect from January 2016. Ten of the 70 multiple-choice questions will be non-scored items used to collect statistical information on the exam.

The content is spread across three major categories further divided into sub-categories outlined below:

Physical Care Skills

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Basic Nursing Skills
  • Restorative Skills

Psychosocial Care Skills

  • Emotional and Mental Health Needs
  • Spiritual and Cultural Needs

Role of the Nurse Aide

  • Communication
  • Client Rights
  • Legal and Ethical Behavior
  • Member of the Health Care Team

Percentages and sample questions are available in the Candidate Handbook.

The Oral Exam

The Oral Exam has the same content outline as the written exam. It is specially designed for candidates who may have difficulty reading English. To take the Oral exam, you must request it on your application. At the test center, the NAE will provide you with an MP3 player and earphones to listen to a recording of the exam and follow along in the test booklet.

There are two parts to the exam. The first 60-mulitple choice questions are read twice. The second part contains 10 multiple-choice questions designed to test your reading and understanding of common English words used by nurse aides. Each word is read three times for you to match the audio to the information on the test booklet. You must pass both parts of the exam to pass the oral test. The exam is also two hours.

The Skills Exam

For the skills exam, you’ll be expected to perform five skills just as you would in a nursing home setting. The exam room will resemble a clinical setting, and another candidate will play the role of the client. You must communicate and interact with the “client” just as an actual patient or resident in the medical setting. The NAE will provide instructions and a card that will list the five skills you’ll have to perform in the 30-minute exam. Perform the skills in the order they’re listed on the instruction card. One of the skills will test your Hand Hygiene. Of the four randomly selected skills remaining, one will involve Recording a Measurement. If you make a mistake, you can make corrections during the skill – you may not go back to correct a previous skill. Each skill contains critical element steps that you must perform to pass the skill. You must also demonstrate your competency by performing a reasonable amount of steps in each skill. You will not pass the exam by simply performing the critical element steps. Dress appropriately to play the role of the resident for another candidate. A listing of skills and the critical element steps are available in the Candidate Handbook.

What To Bring To The Exam

Arrive early to check-in and receive your Admission Ticket for the exam. If you arrive late for the exam, you will not be allowed to take the test, and your fee will not be refunded. Proper identification is essential. Bring two forms of official IDs with your signature – one ID should have a recent photo. All IDs must be current – photocopies are not acceptable.

Examples of proper identification include driver’s license, credit card, library card, signature bearing social security card, signed university card, clinic card, or passport. Your name on the passport must match the name used to register for the exam. If you do not bring proper identification, you will not be allowed to take the exam.

Other items to take to the center are:

  • A self-addressed stamped envelope
  • Three No. 2 sharpened pencils and an eraser
  • A watch with a second hand

No other materials are allowed. Electronic items are not allowed in the exam room. Study aids and materials are not allowed at the test center.

Receiving Your Scores

From January 1, 2016, candidates will not receive score reports at the test sites. Take a self-addressed stamped envelope to the test center and give to the NAE during check-in. After the NAE faxes the test sheet for scoring and receives the score report, it will be placed in the envelope and dropped off at the nearest USPS for local delivery. If you do not provide a self-addressed stamped envelope, your information will be sent to Pearson Vue for scoring, and the report will be mailed to your address 5 to 7 days later.

The score report will provide information on how to retest if you fail one or both parts of the exam. You must pay a new fee to retest. There are no limits to the number of times you may re-take the written (oral) or skills exam. However, you must pass both parts within two years of the first test date.

Contact the Registry

Virginia Board of Nursing
Virginia Department of Health Professions
Perimeter Center
9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 300
Henrico, VA 23233-1463
(804) 367-4569

Pearson Vue
Virginia NNAAP
PO Box 13785
Philadelphia, PA 1901-3785
(800) 274-4097


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