CNA Exam and Certification Rhode Island

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Rhode Island’s nursing assistants must apply for licensure from the Rhode Island Department of Health before caring for patients in homes and residential health care facilities. State-approved nursing assistant training programs equip students with the skills to care for individuals and success on the NNAAP exam. To apply for a license, your nursing assistant training provider must submit an application for licensure to the DOH on your behalf. The Department will process the application and issue a temporary license. As a second part of the two-part process, you must apply for registration by exam. The Community College of Rhode Island works in coordination with Pearson Vue to schedule and administer the exam.

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How to Apply for the NNAAP Exam Rhode Island

Upon completion of an approved nursing assistant training program, the provider will submit an application for licensure to the Rhode Island Department of Health. Thereafter, you are allowed to submit an application to take the NNAAP.

There are two eligibility routes to apply for the exam:

E-1 Nursing Assistant

As a nursing assistant candidate, you must successfully complete a nursing assistant training program approved by the Rhode Island Department of Health before applying to take the NNAAP exam. You’ll have up to one year from the date you began the program to pass the exam. If you do not pass the exam within the one-year period, you must retrain before applying to take the exam again.

E-2 Nursing Student

Nursing students who are actively matriculated in an approved nursing program can apply to sit the NNAAP exam after completing a minimum of two clinical courses. If applying under this route, you must submit an official transcript to the Rhode Island Department of Health.

Lapsed Nursing Assistants

CNAs with a lapsed license (more than 24 months) will be required to complete another state approved training program and apply as a Nursing Assistant under E-1 for the NNAAP. Nursing assistants with a lapsed license that is less than 24 month should provide evidence of at least 8 hours of practice within the prior 24 months to be eligible for reinstatement of the license.

Your submission to the Rhode Island Department of Health should include:

  • A completed application for licensure
  • A passport-type 2 x 3” photo
  • An original criminal background check from the RI Attorney General’s Office – not older than 4 months
  • Detailed explanation of the charge if there are positive findings on the BCI

When the Department of Health receives and processes your application, they will issue a temporary Nursing Assistant license.

The Community College of Rhode Islands works in collaboration with Pearson Vue to schedule and administer the exam in the state. Your nursing assistant program must submit an Application for Registration by Examination to CCRI.

Your submission to the CCRI should include:

  • A completed Application for Registration by Examination. Forms are available at CCRI or Pearson Vue online.
  • A copy of your nursing assistant training certificate of completion.
  • The appropriate fee.

Mail the application and documents to:

Community College of Rhode Island

Center for Workforce and Community Education
Rhode Island NNAAP
400 East Avenue
Warwick, RI 02886

Once CCRI receives your application, verification document, and fee, they will mail an Admission Ticket to your address. The Ticket will contain important information about the exam. Contact CCRI if you do not receive the Admission Ticket within 15 business days after receiving a temporary license by the DOH.

If you cannot take the exam at the assigned date, you can reschedule another date by calling CCRI a minimum of five business days before the test date. If you do not call CCRI and do not show up for the exam, your fee will not be refunded and you will not receive a new test date. Your no-show will also count as a failure unless you receive permission to be excused from the exam.

Pearson Vue and CCRI adhere to the provisions outlined in the Americans with Disabilities Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act by making special arrangements for disabled candidates upon request. If you need special testing arrangement, you must request it on your application. Include an explanation of the type of facilities you need and enclose documentation of your diagnosed disability in a form of an official letter from your health care provider. Once the request is approved, the Nurse Aide Evaluator at the test center will be prepared to provide the special arrangements requested.

Exam Costs

Once you submit payment, it cannot be refunded. If you’re a first-time test taker, you must pay for both the written exam and skills evaluation. CCRI accepts payment in the form of money order, certified check, or company check only. The payment must display your name so it can be applied to your exam.

The fees for the exam are as follows:

  • Written Exam and Skills Evaluation – $99
  • Oral English Exam and Skills Evaluation– $99
  • Written Exam Retest – $30
  • Oral English Examination retest – $30
  • Skills Evaluation retest – $69

According to federal law, your nursing home employer must cover the cost of your state testing, nurse aide education, textbooks, and supplies. If you’re unemployed, you may pay the fee using a money order or cashier’s check and apply for reimbursement of your expenses if you become employed within 12 months of certification.

NNAAP Exam Overview Rhode Island

The two-part NNAAP is the last step to certification in Rhode Island. The two parts of the exam are the Written Exam and a separate Skills Evaluation that are administered on the same day for first-time testers. Candidates for the test have the option to take the Written Exam in Oral format. Nurse assistant training programs approved by the Rhode Island Department of Health will cover all the topics in the classroom, skills lab, and clinical site that you’ll need to succeed on the exam. You’ll have three attempts to pass both parts of the exam. If you succeed, your name will be added to the Rhode Island Nurse Aide Registry.

The Written Exam

The Written portion of the NNAAP exam is made up of 70 multiple-choice questions. Since January 2016, a revised content outline narrowed the questions to three primary categories that are subdivided into topics that go hand-in-hand with the state curriculum for nurse assistants. The three main categories and distribution of questions are Physical Care Skills (37 questions), Psychosocial Care Skills (8 questions), and Role of the Nurse Aide (15 questions). There are a total of 60 scored questions. The final ten questions are deemed as pretest (non-scored) items that are used to collect statistics to further improve the exam. The duration of the Written exam is two hours. A state-appointed Nurse Aide Evaluator will supervisor the exam and alert candidates during the final fifteen minutes of the exam.

The Oral Exam

The Oral alternative to the Written exam is available only if you request it an advance. On the Application for Registration by Examination, indicate that you’d like to take Oral exam and pay the respective fee. At the testing center, a Nurse Aide Evaluator will provide a headset and MP3 player on which you’ll hear the questions in audio format. You’ll have to listen carefully as each question is read twice for the first part of the exam. The second portion of the Oral exam contains reading comprehension questions that test your understanding of common English words used by Nurse Aides. You must pass both parts of the exam to pass the Oral exam. The first part contains 60 multiple-choice questions distributed across three main categories like the Written test. There are ten questions in the final portion of the Oral exam. You’ll have two hours to complete the entire test. If you’re not sure whether the Oral exam is right for you, take the Reading Assessment in the Candidate Handbook to determine whether you’ll be able to read and respond to the questions in Written form.

The Skills Exam

The five skills you’ll have to perform for the Skills Examination will be randomly selected from the NNAAP Skills List outlined in the Candidate Handbook. The detailed list includes the steps for performing each skill with the Critical Element Step highlighted in bold type. Pay special attention to the CES as you must perform them correctly to pass the 25-minute exam. Before the exam begins, a supervising evaluator will provide an instruction card with a list of five skills you’ll have to perform. It is recommended that you perform the skills in the order they’re listed. The evaluator will also provide instructions, indicate the whereabouts of all the equipment in the simulated work environment, and give instructions to the candidate who will play the role of the “client.” One of the skills you’ll have to perform is Handwashing. Another mandatory skill will be Recording a Measurement, which could be anything from measuring a radial pulse to recording blood pressure. The evaluating nurse will assess your performance of each skill – did you put the patient at ease, respect his/her rights, communicate effectively, and follow the steps in the proper order and execute the Critical Element? You do not have to perform all the steps perfectly. If you make a mistake, you can make corrections, but you must notify the evaluator and make the corrections before you proceed to the next skill listed on the card. You cannot go back to correct a previous skill. Dress appropriately for the exam. The evaluator will deny access to the exam if you do not wear appropriate clothing and shoes for the clinical exam.

What To Bring To The Exam

At the test site, the supervising Evaluator will verify your two forms of identification. It is essential that you arrive at least 30 minutes before the time indicated on your Admission Ticket to complete this process. You will not be admitted to take the test you cannot provide the two forms of requested IDs. The two forms of identification must have your signature and one must be a photo ID. Expired IDs and copies of your IDs will not be accepted. Dress appropriately for the Skills Exam or you would not be admitted to take the test. If you’re prohibited from taking the exam due to inappropriate dress or identification, you will be recorded as a no-show and the date will count as one of the three chances to pass the exam.

Acceptable forms of identification are a driver’s license, passport, clinic card, social security card with signature, school ID, library card, or alien registration card. The name should exactly match the registration. Take supporting documents to the center if you have a legal name change.

Summary of items to take to the test center:

  • Two forms of identification. Take official IDs, such as those issued by a government agency. One ID should have a photo and both IDs must have your signature.
  • At least two sharpened (no. 2) pencils and an eraser
  • Know your social security number
  • A watch with a second hand

You should take the Admission Ticket to present in case there are any issues. Do not take large personal items to the center as they’re not allowed in the exam room and there may not be available storage. The use of cell phones, tablets, and other electronic devices is prohibited during the exam and they must be switched off for the duration.

Receiving Your Scores

Score reports are available at the test site on the same day you take the exam. The Nurse Aide Evaluator will fax the Written and Skills exam for scoring and receive the Official Score Report via fax. Your report will indicate whether you passed or failed each exam. If you fail one or both parts of the exam, the score report will include guidelines for retesting. If technical difficulties prevent the nurse from faxing and receiving a fax, you’ll receive the report by mail within 5 to 7 business days after the test. To retake the portion of the exam that you failed, you must submit the Official Score Report, the test retake fee, and a copy of your nursing assistant training certification. You’ll have up to three attempts to pass both the Skills and the Written exam.

Once you’ve passed both parts of the exam, you may check the status of your license on the DOH website.

Contact the Registry

Rhode Island Department of Health
3 Capitol Hill
Providence, RI 02908
Phone: 401-222-5960

Pearson Vue

Rhode Island NNAAP
PO Box 13785
Philadelphia, PA 19101-3785
(888) 274-2900

Community College of Rhode Island
Center for Workforce and Community Education
Rhode Island NNAAP
400 East Avenue
Warwick, RI 02886
(401) 333-7077
Fax: (401) 333-7237


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