CNA Exam and Certification Maryland

The CNA certification database is tied in with the Maryland Geriatric Nurse Assistant (GNA) Registry. Nursing home employers can verify a prospective employee’s certification on the web or through the verification phone line. All CNAs must obtain GNA certification within 120 days of commencing employment at a nursing home. Candidates must pass both parts of the NNAAP exam, administered through the Susquehanna Red Cross – The Maryland Geriatric Nursing Assistant Testing Service (MDGNATS). Upon successful passage of both parts of the exam, the candidate will receive GNA certification, which must be renewed every two years.

CNA Classes in MD:

How to Apply for the NNAAP Exam Maryland

Maryland’s nursing assistants must be certified to practice. CNA certification forms the foundation for all additional certifications, and therefore, must be completed first or in conjunction with any additional certification.

All nursing assistants practicing in a Maryland Licensed Nursing Home must be registered as a Geriatric Nurse Aide within 120 days of hire. To register as a GNA, you must complete a board-approved GNA program, pass both parts of the NNAAP exam, and be certified as a CNA in Maryland. The GNA certification will be added to the CNA certification card.

Check out the following eligibility routes for taking the NNAAP exam.

A1 – New Geriatric Nursing Assistant

You can qualify under this route in one of five ways:

Completed training: If you completed a board-approved nursing assistant training program comprising of 100 hours of classroom and clinical experience within the last 12 months, you should submit a copy of the certificate with your application for the NNAAP.

Student nurse – active: If you’re currently enrolled in a nursing education program, you can apply to take the exam after successfully completing a portion of the program that corresponds to 100 hours of classroom and clinical training as a nursing assistant.

Student nurse – inactive: If you’re an inactive nursing student, but successfully completed a portion of the program that corresponds to 100 hours of clinical and classroom training as a nursing assistant, you can apply to take the exam. Your training must have been completed in the last 12 months.

Graduate nurse: Submit a copy of your diploma or degree with the application for the exam if you graduated from an accredited nursing program in the United States.

Graduate nurse – foreign: A nurse with a current license in another country and pre-approval from the Maryland Board of Nursing to take the NCLEX can secure an Authorization to Test to take the NNAAP.

A2- Expired GNA Certificate (Less than 24 months)

If your GNA certificate expired in the last 24 months, you might be eligible for recertification if you practiced at least 8 hours in a nursing home. Submit a copy of your GNA with the application to retest if you did not practice as a GNA. You’ll have to retrain if you fail one or both portions of the NNAAP exam.

A3- Expired GNA Certificate (More than 24 months)

If your GNA certificate expired for more than 24 months, you might be eligible for recertification if you practiced at a nursing home for at least 8 hours during each 24-month period. If you did not practice, you must retrain and retest to become active on the Maryland Geriatric Nursing Registry. Submit a copy of your GNA certification with the completed application.

A4- Endorsement/Reciprocity

Contact the Board of Nursing for a GNA endorsement application if you’re certified in good standing on another state’s CNA Registry. You will become eligible for GNA certification after obtaining certification as a Maryland CNA.

Complete the application legibly and accurately as the information you provide will be used to schedule your exam and as profile information on the GNA Registry. Enter your name exactly as it appears on your state-issued ID.

Mail the following documents, together in one envelope, to:

  • Completed application for the NNAAP exam.
  • Appropriate documents – NA training certificate, GNA certificate, ATT, and
  • The non-refundable application fee

American Red Cross (ARC), Maryland NNAAP

1804 North Sixth St,

Harrisburg, PA 17110

Pearson Vue and ARC comply with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Therefore, special arrangements may be possible for disabled candidates who request it with the application. A request for special arrangements must be approved in advance by the ARC. It cannot be requested (or expected) on the day of the exam without prior approval. When requesting special arrangements under the Act, you must submit proof of the disability in the form of a letter from your health care provider or specialist, and a statement detailing the type of accommodation needed. Once the request has been approved, the Nurse Aide Evaluator administering the exam will be prepared to provide the necessary arrangements.

After ARC receives a completed application and fee and reviews them, you will be assigned a test date. A Confirmation Letter with the date, time, and location of the exam will be mailed to your address, at least, ten business days prior to the exam date.

If you’re unable to take the test on the scheduled date, you must contact ARC, at least, four business days before the exam to reschedule another date. If you do not reschedule within the appropriate timeframe and fail to show up for the exam, your exam fee will not be refunded – you cannot transfer the fee to another date.

Exam Costs

Beginning January 1, 2016, the ARC will accept payments made using a MasterCard or Visa (no debit cards accepted). There will be a surcharge for using a credit card payment. Money order, certified check, or company check are still accepted and must be made out to American Red Cross. The money order or check 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 – $105
  • Oral Exam and Skills Evaluation– $105
  • Written Exam Retest – $35
  • Oral Examination retest – $35
  • Skills Evaluation retest – $70

If paying with a credit card, the fees are as follows:

  • Written Exam or Oral and Skills Evaluation – $108.75
  • Written or Oral only – $36.25
  • Skills only – $72.25

NNAAP Exam Overview Maryland

The Written Exam and the Skills Evaluation are two independent parts of the NNAAP. You can take them in any order. However, you must take both parts when taking the exam for the first time. If you fail one part of the exam, you’ll retest for the part you failed only. The Oral exam is an alternative to the Written exam. After passing both the Written (or Oral) and the Skills components of the exam, your name will be added to the Maryland Geriatric Nurse Assistant Registry.

The Written Exam

Ten out of the seventy multiple-choice questions on the Written exam will be non-scored items used for statistical purposes. The two-hour exam evaluates your understanding of key nursing concepts, your legal and ethical obligations, and your understanding of your role as a nurse aide. You should review the Candidate Handbook as part of your preparation for success because it contains a comprehensive outline of the topics covered in the three major categories and the percentage assigned to each section. The three major categories under which all other topics fall are Physical Care Skills, Psychosocial Care Skills, and Role of the Nurse Aide.

The Oral Exam

A Self-Assessment reading test in the Candidate Handbook contains basic questions, responses, and answers to questions that you can use to determine whether you need to take the Oral test. If your total score is less than 17, you may be having difficulty reading English, and should, therefore, take the Oral exam. However, it is important that you become familiar with basic nursing assistant terms in English in preparation for the success on the second part of the Oral exam. The first 60 multiple-choice questions are similar to the Written exam. If you request the Oral option on your application, you’ll receive an MP3 player and headset for an audio version of the test. You’ll indicate your answers on the test booklet as the questions are being read. The second part of the exam tests your reading comprehension. It contains 10 multiple-choice questions. Each word will be read three times, and you’ll have to match the words to the information on the test booklet. The Oral exam is a two-hour exam. You must pass both parts to pass the overall Oral exam.

The Skills Exam

The environment for the Skills exam will resemble a real-world caregiving setting. The Nurse Aide Evaluator will point out all the equipment needed to perform the assigned skills at the beginning of the exam. You’ll receive an instruction card with a list of five skills that you’ll have to perform within the 25 minutes allotted for the exam. Hand-washing will be one of the skills assigned, and the other four skills will be selected at random from the complete set of skills listing – available in the Candidate Handbook. At least one of the skills will be a measurement skill, such as “Measures and Records Blood Pressure,” or “Measures and Records Weight of Ambulatory Client.” You must successfully perform all five skills to pass the exam. The Critical Element Step is an important step that you must perform correctly. The correct order of steps and the Critical Element Step for each skill is available in the Candidate Handbook. The CES for each step is highlighted in bold type in the Handbook. It is recommended that you perform the skills in the order that they’re listed on the instruction card. If you must make corrections, you should inform the NAE and perform the step before you proceed to your next assignment. You cannot go back to a previous skill to make corrections. Another candidate will perform the role of the client. Dress appropriately for the exam as you’ll also have to perform the client role for another candidate.

What To Bring To The Exam

Arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled time for both the Written (or Oral) exam and the Skills evaluation. The NAE will not permit you to take the exam if you arrive late and your exam fee will be forfeited. If you miss the Written exam due to a late arrival, you can still turn up early for the Skills exam. However, you’ll need to pay another fee to schedule a new date for the exam you missed. It is essential that you bring two forms of proper ID to the test center. The name on the signature-bearing IDs must exactly match the name used to register for the exam. Examples of proper identification include a driver’s license, passport, alien registration card, credit card, library card, clinic card, or social security card with your signature.

Other items to take to the center are:

  • Your social security number
  • Three no. 2 sharpened pencils
  • Eraser
  • A watch with a second hand
  • Longman’s Dictionary of American English – optional.

If you take a cell phone, beeper, or electronic devices to the center, you must switch them off during the exam. Briefcases, large handbags, and study materials are not allowed in the room, and will be taken away.

Receiving Your Scores

Your score report will be issued at the test center ten minutes after the NAE faxes it for scoring. The report is for your use only; do not mail to the Board of Nursing as ARC will report your scores directly to the Board. It will indicate whether you passed or failed the exam. Direct all questions about the report to Pearson Vue as the NAE is not permitted to answer questions concerning your score. If there are technical difficulties at the center, the NAE will mail the test sheet for hand-scoring, and you’ll receive an official report in the mail within 5 to 7 business days.

If you fail one or both parts of the exam, your score report will contain guidelines for retaking the test. You can take the NNAAP exam up to four times within 24 months of completing the nursing aide training program. If you do not pass the exam within the allotted timeframe, you must complete another 100-hour training program before reapplying to take the exam.

Contact the Registry

Maryland Board of Nursing
Nursing Assistant Certification Program
4140 Patterson Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21215
(410) 585-1990

American Red Cross (ARC)
Maryland NNAAP
1804 North Sixth Street
Harrisburg, PA 17110
(866) 257-6470
Fax: (866) 257-6506

Pearson Vue
Maryland NNAAP
PO Box 13785
Philadelphia, PA 19101-3785
(888) 274-7070

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.