Federal and New Mexico State laws require nurse aides working in Medicaid-approved facilities to complete state-specific nurse assistant training and testing requirements before caring for residents. The New Mexico Board of Nursing reviews and approves all nurse assistant training programs to ensure they comply with the state’s minimum requirements. The Board also oversees the certification of new CNAs and maintains the Nurse Aide Registry to ensure candidates remain in good standing.
How to Apply for the New Mexico CNA Exam
Before applying for the Prometric administered exam, you must establish your eligibility route through one of the nine options listed below:
Route 1 – New Nurse Aide
Did you graduate from an approved training program offering at least 75 hours of classroom and clinical instruction? Then this is the route for you. You must pass the exam within 24 months of graduating and have the program director fill out Part D of the application to furnish proof of your training.
Route 2 – Military Trained
Military training and practice as a nurse assistant qualify a candidate for testing. However, you must receive approval from the DOH and send your approval letter with the completed application. The CNA exam must be completed within 6 months of the date on the approval letter.
Route 3 – Graduate RN/LPN
This route applies if you’re a graduate of an LPN or RN program and have not been licensed. Apply to the DOH for approval and submit your approval letter demonstrating your eligibility to test with the completed exam registration. You must take the test within six months of the date on the approval letter.
Route 4 – Out-of-State Nurse Aide (Expired)
If your certification from another state expired in the past 24 months but is still in good standing – with no findings of resident abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of property- you can apply to the DOH for approval to write the exam. Once you receive eligibility to test, submit your approval letter with the completed application to take the exam.
Route 5 – Out-of-State or Foreign Trained Nurse/Nurse Aide
This route is for you if you are an RN, LPN, or NA trained in another state or country. Testing requires approval from the DOH, so apply there for eligibility first, and then submit the approval letter with the application to take the exam. You must take the test within six months of the approval letter date.
Route 6 – RN/LPN Students
After completing the basics of nursing and accompanying clinical in a licensed nursing program approved by the state board, you can apply to the DOH for eligibility to take the CNA exam. Once the Department grants the approval to test, submit the approval letter with the application and take the exam within 6 months of the date on the approval letter.
Route 7 – Expired New Mexico Certificate – less than 24 months ago
You can skip training if you’re on the NM CNA registry but your certificate expired within the past 24 months. The exemption from training applies only if your expiration date is within the past 24 months. Submit your certificate number next to Route 7 on the application.
Route 8 – Expired New Mexico Certificate – more than 24 months ago
If your certificate expired more than 24 months ago, you may apply to the DOH for approval to test if you worked in a nursing-related field during the expiration. Send the Department’s approval letter with the completed application and take the test within six months of the approval date.
Route 9 – Expired New Mexico Certificate – Retrained
If your certificate expired more than 24 months ago and you did not work in a nursing related field, you must retrain and submit an application for the test using Route 9. The training director must complete Part D of the application, and you’ll have 24 months after graduation to pass both parts of the competency exam.
After determining your eligibility route, use the following steps to apply for and schedule your exam:
- Download the application form, fill it out, and return to Prometric using the address provided below. Incomplete or unsigned applications will be returned. You can also submit the application online using the online portal.
- Enter the test site code if you’re taking the test at a regional test center.
- Pay the appropriate application fee using a cashier’s check or money order made payable to Prometric. You can also submit your credit card information to pay with your Visa, MasterCard or American Express. All fees are non-refundable.
- Enclose supporting documents (approval letter, certificate, etc.) to verify your eligibility to take the exam.
- Submit a completed ADA Request Packet if you need special accommodations for the test and qualify under the under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Submit the request up to 30 days before your preferred test date and include supporting documents of your disability on an official letterhead signed by a licensed physician or specialist.
If you’re taking the test for the first time, you must request and pay for both components of the exam. After Prometric reviews your application and determines your eligibility to test, they’ll mail an Authorization to Test Letter, which will include your test date, location, and time of the test. You must take the letter with you to the test site.
For faster communication with Prometric, provide an email address on the application form. If you need to reschedule a new date, you must request it five full working days before the test date. The reschedule fee of $25 applies to requests made within this time period. Requests made less than five full working days will not be honored, and you will lose your exam fees if you don’t show up for the exam.
The State of New Mexico will cover your test fee if you’re currently employed or receive an offer of employment by a Medicaid nursing facility. An authorized administrator from the facility must complete Part C of the application for the state to pay your fees. If you’re not eligible for funding, you must pay your fees using a credit card, money order or cashier’s check. You may be eligible for a refund at a later date if you receive employment at a Medicaid/Medicare funded facility.
- $105 – Clinical Skills and Written Examination
- $115 – Clinical Skills and Oral Test
- $66.15 – Clinical Skills Test (retake)
- $38.85 – Written Test (retake)
- $49.35 – Oral Test (retake)
Fees include the 5% NM state tax.
CNA Exam Overview New Mexico
The written (knowledge) test and the clinical skills evaluation are two separate parts of the overall exam. However, you must take both components on the same day when you’re taking the test for the first time. Prometric administers the exam as a computerized exam which allows for easier testing and scoring, so you can receive your results on the same day. The written exam covers the subject matter contained in the didactic part of the nurse aide training. Practical sessions in the lab and at clinical sites will prepare you for the skills evaluation. You must pass both components of the exam for certification as a New Mexico CNA.
The Written Exam
Your time management during the timed knowledge test is as critical as your understanding of the concepts of patient care and nursing because you’ll have a maximum time of 90 minutes to complete 60 multiple-choice questions contained in the exam. The content covers the material covered in the course and is divided into five major categories. Some of the topics covered include workplace standards, age-related changes, post-mortem care procedures, impact of impairment on resident safety, emotional support strategies, communication principles, observation and reporting of physical changes, teamwork, personal care skills, and comfort needs of residents. If you feel that you need added preparation for the exam, you can locate practice tests online, including paid test packets available on Prometric’s website.
Questions for the exam are distributed over the five main categories outlined below:
- 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
Select the oral option on the application for the exam and pay the applicable fee to take the written test in an oral format. The only way to take the test is to request it in advance. The questions will be read to through headphones connected to the computer, giving you the option to rewind, pause, and play using the computer mouse. It is a suitable option if English is not your primary language.
The Skills Exam
A list of skills from which three skills will be randomly selected for you to perform is available in the Candidate Handbook. Apart from the three selected skills, you’ll also be scored on your Handwashing and Indirect Care skills for a total of five skills you must pass on the Skills Evaluation. The list of skills in the Handbook also contains the key checkpoints – highlighted in bold- that you must complete to pass each skill. Another candidate will play the role of the resident upon which you’ll have to perform your tasks (care). Be prepared to play the role of the resident for another candidate. The exam is approximately 31 to 40 minutes. The Nurse Aide Evaluator will provide instructions and point out all the equipment before you start the exam and assign an extra five minutes if you need it to complete your final task.
What To Bring To The Exam
Arrive early at the test site. You should be seated by the stipulated time. Therefore, you’ll need to arrive 20 to 30 minutes beforehand to check in and submit your ID for verification. Identification is important. Prometric requires two IDs for check-in. The first should have your signature and a current photo. The name should exactly match the name used to register for the exam. The second ID should have your name and signature. Examples of both forms of identification are your driver’s license, passport, military ID, alien registration card, social security card, or credit card. Expired IDs or those that appears to have been tampered with will disqualify you from taking the exam.
Dress appropriately for the clinical test. Scrubs, uniform, and closed-toed flats are standard wear for medical staff in a clinical environment.
Receiving Your Scores
You’ll receive you New Mexico Nurse Aide Certificate within one week of taking the exam if you pass both parts of the competency test. Your name will also be added automatically to the nurse aide registry. Scores are confidential and will be not issued over the phone.
If there are no technical difficulties, you should receive a printed score report at the test center after you complete the exam. The score report will indicate whether you passed or failed. You can also use self-serve results to print a copy of your score report by logging on to Prometric’s website. Select the report with the Item Feedback to see the checkpoints you missed. If you fail a test, the score report will provide information for retaking the exam.
NM Nurse Aide
7941 Corporate Dr.
Nottingham MD 21236
New Mexico Department of Health
Health Facility Licensing and Certification Bureau
2040 S. Pacheco Street, Room 413
Santa Fe, NM 87505
Certified Nurse Aide Registry Coordinator: 505.476.9040
Health Facilities & Licensing Bureau: 505.476.9025