CNA Exam and Certification Arkansas

Nursing facilities cannot hire an individual to work as a nursing assistant for more than four months unless the individual completes a training program and competency evaluation approved by the Office of Long Term Care (OLTC). Approved training programs consist of a combination of classroom and clinical instruction. Arkansas state requirements pose a minimum of 90 hours of training that balances theory and practical skills training for all approved programs. The skills training is further divided into skills demonstration in a classroom lab and skills performance in a clinical area where students work directly with the residents of the long-term care facility. Students who successfully complete the training and evaluation will have their names added to the Arkansas Nurse Aide Registry.

CNA Classes in AR:

How to Apply for the Arkansas CNA Exam

There are seven certification routes for a prospective CNA in Arkansas to establish eligibility. Choose one of the seven outlined below.

Route 1 – New Nursing Assistant

After completing an Arkansas-approved training program, you can apply to take the exam if you graduated within the past 12 months and never received certification as a CNA in Arkansas. Submit a copy of your training certificate with the application. You must pass the Competency Exam within one year of graduation and within three attempts.

Route 2 – Previously Certified in Arkansas

This option is for CNAs with an expired Arkansas license. Note: You may be eligible for renewal if the certificate is less than 24 months old. A certificate will expire if you worked at least 8 hours for compensation during the most recent 24-month certification period. You must submit an application to retest and provide your previous certificate number if your certification expired more than 24 months ago. Take the test within one year of receiving approval. The Registry will issue a new certificate and certificate number if you pass the test.

Route 3 – RN or LPN Students

The Basic Nursing I or equivalent course in the RN/LPN curriculum qualifies nursing students to take the CNA exam. The OLTC must first grant eligibility to take the exam. Submit the approval letter with a completed application and fee and take the exam within one year of the approval date.

Route 6 – Trained in Another State

Graduates of an approved geriatric program in another state can take the exam without further training. Testing is available if the candidate did not complete testing in the other state or receive placement on the Nurse Aide Registry. The OTLC must provide an approval letter, which must be submitted with the completed application and fee.

Route 7 – Certified in Another State

Apply using this option if you’re certified as a nursing assistant in another state. The OLTC will determine whether you can be added directly to the Registry or be required to take the Competency Exam. Fill out and submit a completed DMS-798, Exemption/Reciprocity Request Form with a copy of your registration documents from all applicable states. The OLTC will verify your status at all listed Registries before transferring your certification.

Route 8 – Other

This option is for qualifying persons who do not fit into the other options outlined above. Submit a request to the OLTC for review. The Office will issue an approval to test letter if you qualify. Submit the approval letter and a completed application to take the exam and take the test within one year of the OLTC’s approval date.

To apply for the exam under the certification routes:

  • Complete the paper application form, making sure to enter your name just as it is printed on your government-issued ID. To apply for the exam online, go to
  • Submit the application fee using a certified check, money order, MasterCard, Visa, or American Express. Make checks payable to Prometric. Complete the information on the final page of the application form to pay via credit card. Complete the employment information on page 2 of the application if the state is paying the exam fee.
  • Provide documents of your eligibility to test; a copy of your training document, an approval letter from the OLTC, or your certificate number.
  • Indicate whether you need special accommodations for the test on page one of the application. You must have documentation to support your request and eligibility to apply under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Submit the documents with a completed ADA Request Packet, making sure to follow the enclosed instructions. The review time for ADA requests is approximately 30 days.

Request testing at a regional test site if your training program cannot schedule your test. Apply for both the written and clinical skills test if you’re taking the exam for the first time. Contact the OLTC for pre-approval if your certification eligibility option requires it before submitting an application to Prometric. Enclose the OLTC approval letter with the application.

A representative from the nursing home or nurse aide training program will schedule your exam appointment and notify you of the test date if applicable. In this instance, you must submit the application to the school. To take the exam at a regional test site, you must submit your application to Prometric.

Prometric sends email status updates to candidates who include a valid email address with the application. You will also receive your ATT letter indicating the date, location, and time of the test. Take the letter with you to the test site. You can reschedule the exam up to five full business days before the scheduled date.

Exam Costs

By federal law, your testing fees will be covered by the state of Arkansas if you’re currently employed or receive an offer of employment from a nursing home when you apply for the test. Include a letter from the nursing home as evidence of your employment or offer of employment with the application form to qualify for payment by the state.

If you’re not eligible for state payment, you should pay the applicable fees with the application. Include your name and social security number on the money order/cashier’s check made out to Prometric.

  • $75 – Clinical Skills and Written Examination
  • $75 – Clinical Skills and Oral Test
  • $55 – Clinical Skills Test (retake)
  • $20 – Written Test (retake)
  • $20 – Oral Test (retake)

A resubmission of the full fee applies if you miss the appointment or reschedule the exam with less than five days’ notice.

An eligibility screen fee of $10 applies if you were denied eligibility and reapply to take the test.

CNA Exam Overview Arkansas

The Arkansas Nurse Aide Competency Exam are two independent tests: the clinical skills evaluation and the written (knowledge) exam. First-time test takers must take both tests on the same day. However, the tests may be taken in any order.

The written test is available as a paper based test or an internet-based test. The test site will determine the format of the test. Score reports are available on the same date at internet based test sites. Results for the paper based test will be delivered via email.

The Written Exam

The written test contains 60 multiple-choice questions that you must complete in a maximum time of 90 minutes. A full outline of the test, including the topics covered in the exam is available in the Candidate Handbook. All the questions originate from the five major categories listed below. Examples of sub-categories include health maintenance and restoration, personal care skills, age-related changes, psychosocial needs of residents, potential hazards in the healthcare environment, safety devices, infection prevention and control, safety and comfort, acute emergency situations, physical problems, psychosocial problems, and care of the dying resident and post-mortem care.

The five main categories are:

  • Role of the Nurse Aide – 18%
  • Promotion of safety – 18%
  • Promotion of Function and Health of Residents – 24%
  • Basic Nursing Care Provided by the Nurse Aide – 26%
  • Providing Specialized Care for Residents with Changes in Health – 14%

The Oral Exam

The oral exam is a replica of the written exam where you’ll hear the questions using a CD player at paper-based test sites or through a headset plugged into the computer at an internet based test site. The results at the internet based test site are available on the same day. Paper-based results are delivered via email a few days later. Each question is read twice. However, the candidate has the option to replay any question. To determine whether you need the oral test, you can take a Reading Assessment on Prometric’s website. If you need the oral exam, you must select this option on the application form as you cannot request it on the day of the exam.

The Skills Exam

The skills you’ll have to perform during the timed clinical skills evaluation will be assigned by the computer when you’re scheduled for the exam. The computer will assign a total of three skills, and you’ll be scored on two additional skills, Handwashing and Indirect Care, as you perform the three skills assigned. Handwashing and Indirect Care are standard for all candidates and relate to communication with the resident, infection control, attention to residents’ rights, and resident comfort and needs.

The actual time will depend on your assigned skills, and will be somewhere between 31 and 40 minutes. You must perform the key points in each skill and pass all five skills to pass the exam. You can make corrections while performing a skill as long as you inform the NAE and actually perform the correction. Review the list of skills and associated checkpoints that you cannot miss in the Candidate Handbook.

What To Bring To The Exam

Reference materials, papers, or study materials are prohibited at the test center. Electonic equipment, such as pagers, cell phones, or cameras, is not permitted in the testing areas. Personal items are also not allowed in the test center, and access to purses will not be permitted during the test.

Site personnel need to verify your identification and outline the procedures before the exam begins. It is essential that you arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled appointment. You must present the Authorization to Test letter sent to you by Prometric and one valid form of identification before you’re allowed into the test center. The ID must be government-issued with your current photo and signature, and the name should exactly match the name used to apply for the exam.

If you’re taking the paper-based test, you should take two No. 2 sharpened pencils with erasers. Wear flat, non-skid shoes with enclosed toes, uniform or scrubs, and a watch with a second hand for the clinical skills test.

Receiving Your Scores

For the internet-based exam, the results will be issued on a printed score report on the same day. The score report is an overall report that will let you know whether you passed or failed the exam. Test site employees cannot answer questions about the results. You must correctly answer an overall number of questions to pass the written or oral exam.

For the paper based exam, your official score report will be mailed to the address you provided within 10 business days following the test. You’ll receive your Arkansas Nursing Assistant Certificate and wallet card if you pass both the written and clinical skills test. Official results are also available via log-in to Prometric’s website. You’ll need to Prometric ID and password – on the ATT letter- to view the report.

If you fail the written or oral test, your score report will include diagnostic information that you can use to prepare for a retest. You have up to three attempts to pass both the Clinical Skills test and the Written Test during the one-year eligibility period.

AR Nurse Aide
7941 Corporate Dr.
Nottingham MD 21236
Phone: 800.805.9128

Arkansas Office of Long Term Care
Nursing Assistant Training Program
Mail Slot S405
P.O. Box 8059
Little Rock, AR 72203-8059
Phone: 501-682-8430

Crystal G

Crystal is a certified Registered Nurse (RN) with a passion for writing about nursing education. Through her articles, Crystal shares insights and tips to help fellow nurses enhance their skills and stay updated with the latest developments in the field. With a focus on practical advice and relevant topics, Crystal's writing is a valuable resource for nursing professionals seeking to advance their careers.