CNA Exam and Certification Pennsylvania

Student or graduate nurses must obtain authorization from the Pennsylvania Department of Education to take the CNA exam. All other candidates who do not have basic nursing education must complete a state approved program comprising of at least 80 clock hours of classroom and clinical training. A prospective nurse aide must be 16 years or older with a clean criminal history to enroll in a nurse aide training program. Criminal convictions may disqualify a candidate from enrolling in a state-approved training program and registering for the NNAAP exam. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has contracted with Credentia to manage the administration of the CNA exam and report results to the Nurse Aide Registry.

CNA Classes in PA:

How to Apply for the NNAAP Exam Pennsylvania

To practice as a nurse aide in Pennsylvania, you must be certified by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. The department works together with Credentia to develop, score, and report the competency exam results for the Pennsylvania Nurse Aide Registry.

Following is an outline of the eligibility routes to take the Pennsylvania exam.

Eligibility by Examination

You are eligible for testing if:

E0- You completed a nurse aide training program

The training program must be approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Apply if you completed the program within the last twenty-four (24) months.

E3- Your registration lapsed

If you did not provide nursing-related services for at least 24 months consecutively, you’d have a single opportunity to pass the exam. If you fail the single attempt, you must complete another nursing assistant training program and reapply under E0 route.

E4 – You’re listed on another state’s registry

Certified nurse aides from another state are allowed to apply for the exam but only have a single opportunity to do so. If your certification lapsed due to not providing nursing-related services for twenty-four months consecutively, you could apply for the exam under this eligibility route. You will have to retrain if you fail the exam on your first attempt and reapply for the exam under the E0 route.

E-6A – You are a temporary nurse aide and have completed a Nurse Aide Attestation Form and intend to sit for the PA nurse aide examination

The TNA candidate has 3 attempts to pass the competency exam.

With the Credentia CNA365 system, online registration is quick, convenient and an environmentally responsible way to register for your examination. This process will eliminate the transit time associated with mailing a paper application.

Submit a request for special testing arrangements using the ADA tab on Credentia’s website. Requests are reviewed on a case by case basis. To receive consideration, you must submit supporting documentation, such as a letter from a professional who diagnosed your condition and a description of the type of accommodation needed. Your request must be approved in advance, so the ARC can make arrangements before your scheduled exam date.

Exam Costs

Payments for the exam must be made online using a  credit card or debit card. Once the exam fees have been submitted, it cannot be refunded or transferred to another individual.

Your employer must pay your testing or retesting fees if you’re employed at a Medicare or Medicaid-funded facility.

The fees for the exam in Pennsylvania are as follows:

  • Written Examination & Skills Evaluation – $135
  • Oral Examination & Skills Evaluation – $135
  • Written Examination re-test exam- $50
  • Skills Evaluation re-test exam – $85
  • Oral Examination re-test exam – $50

NNAAP Exam Overview Pennsylvania

The NNAAP Examination determines candidates’ ability to perform the duties of an entry-level nurse aide. Candidates who successfully pass both the Written (or Oral) and Skills components of the exam demonstrate that they have obtained the minimal competency to become a certified nurse aide in Pennsylvania. The examination is administered in two parts; the written or oral examination and the skills evaluation will be done on the same day. Candidates who successfully pass both parts are eligible for placement on the Pennsylvania Nurse Aide Registry.

The Written Exam

The Written exam is a 2-hour test comprising of 70 multiple-choice questions. A state-appointed registered nurse supervise will articulate guidelines before the exam, answer any questions related to the test, and alert candidates fifteen minutes before the conclusion of the test. The content covered in the nursing assistant training program will help you prepare for the exam. Beginning January 1, 2016, the new content outline includes topics in three major categories: physical care skills, psychosocial needs of patients, and the role of the nurse aide. The distribution of questions under the three main categories are as follows:

Physical Care Skills

  • Activities of daily living (8 questions)
  • Basic nursing skills (24 questions)
  • Restorative skills (4 questions)

Psychosocial Care Skills

  • Emotional and mental health needs (6 questions)
  • Spiritual and cultural needs (2 questions)

Role of the Nurse Aide

  • Communication (5 questions)
  • Client rights (4 questions)
  • Legal and ethical behavior (2 questions)
  • Member of the health care team (5 questions)

The Oral Exam

The Oral exam is the Written exam in audio format that you must request in advance. If you score below 17 on the Reading Assessment in the Candidate Handbook, you should select the option to take the Oral exam when applying for the test. The exam contains 70 multiple-choice questions like the written exam, and candidates have two hours to complete the test. However, there are two parts to the Oral exam. The initial 60 questions will be repeated twice on the assigned cassette player, and you’ll record your responses in the answer booklet. The second part of the exam contains 10 reading comprehension questions that will test your familiarity with common job-related words. Each of the words in this final section will be repeated three times. You must pass both sections to pass the oral exam.

The Skills Exam

A state-appointed evaluator will assess your clinical skills as you perform five tasks during the skills evaluation. This may be the most stressful component of the NNAAP exam as there’s no way of knowing the list of skills that will be assigned. Out of the five assigned skills, one will always be handwashing, and the other four will be selected at random from the NNAAP Skills List. At least one of the randomly selected skills will include “recording a measurement,” such as checking radial pulse, recording blood pressure, or measuring urinary output. You do not have to perform the skills perfectly. However, you must perform the Critical Element Steps for each skill correctly. These essential steps are highlighted in bold type under each skill in the Candidate Handbook. Apart from the Critical Element Steps, you must perform a reasonable amount of steps for each skill and demonstrate caring and respect for the “patient.” Another candidate will volunteer to act as a weakened elderly person. You should relate to the candidate volunteer just as you would an actual client. You will also need to act as a candidate volunteer for another evaluation so you must dress for the part in flat, non-skid shoes with enclosed toes and loose-fitting pants and top. You will be required to wear a gown over your clothing. If you have any sensitivity to latex, you should tell the evaluator prior to the start of the exam. The clinical skills evaluation is approximately 30 minutes, and you must pass all five skills to pass the exam.

What To Bring To The Exam

You must have two forms of official ID to present to the proctor, who will verify that they match the name used to register for the exam. Check-in begins 30 minutes before the exam, so arrive early. Acceptable forms of ID are a driver’s license, library card, passport, social security card, alien registration card, or credit card. A least one form of ID must have your photo. Both IDs should bear your signatures. Photocopies of an ID will not be accepted. If you do not take proper ID, you will not be allowed to take the test, and you’ll be recorded as absent – which requires another fee to take the test. The recorded absenteeism will also count as one of your three opportunities to pass the test. A watch with a second hand, three no. 2 sharpened pencils, and an eraser are the other items you need to take to the test center.

Receiving Your Scores

You will receive a notification email from CNA365 when a new exam score has been posted to your online account. To access your score report, login to your CNA365 account by clicking the “CNA365 Login” button on the top of the Pennsylvania nurse aide website. Score reports are generally available within a few hours after a testing event is completed for the day.

If you fail one or both parts of the exam, you will be required to repeat only the part(s) you failed. You can take the test three times to become certified. If you fail the test on the three attempts, you must retrain and reapply for both components of the exam. If you apply under E3 or E4 routes, you’ll have only one attempt to pass the exam.

Contact the Registry

Pennsylvania Department of Health
Nurse Aide Registry
Managed by Pearson Vue
PO Box 13785
Philadelphia, PA 19101-3785
(800) 852-0518

Pennsylvania Department of Human Services
Office of Long-Term Living
Bureau of Quality & Provider Management
6th Floor, Forum Place Building
555 Walnut Street
Harrisburg, PA 17101
(717) 772-2570

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.