CNA Exam and Certification Washington

Washington’s nursing assistants must complete a minimum 85 hours of training through a state approved program before applying for the NNAAP (CNA) exam. Student nurses who meet the minimum requirements and military medics and corpsmen may also apply to take the exam. Pearson Vue administers the test to qualifying candidates and sends the results directly to the Department of Health for successful candidates to be listed on the Nurse Aide Registry. Once certified, CNAs must renew their certificate on or before their birthday each year to remain in good standing on the Nurse Aide Registry.

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How to Apply for the NNAAP Exam Washington

All candidates applying to take the NNAAP Examination in Washington must do so after completing a state-approved training program or an ADSA OBRA Nursing Assistant screening. The six eligibility routes are:

Route 1 – New Nursing Assistant

After completing a state-approved nursing assistant training program, you can apply for the exam as a new nursing assistant if you’ve never been certified.

Route 2 – Student/Graduate Nurse

Submit your official school transcript or official letter from the school to the ADSA as evidence that you completed the nursing assistant curriculum as part of a registered nursing or licensed practical nursing program. The ADSA will review the information and send you an application for the exam if you’re approved for the test.

Route 3 – Military Nursing Assistant

Successful completion of the U.S. Army 91-C Program, the Air Force’s Apprentice Program, or the Navy’s Basic Hospital Corps School qualifies a candidate to take the NNAAP exam with the ADSA’s approval. You must submit documentation of your training for review, and the ADSA will mail the application if you qualify.

Route 4 – Student/Graduate Nurse or Nursing Assistant from Another State

An out-of-state candidate who has completed a minimum 50 hours of clinical training and 35 hours of training in the classroom can submit an official transcript or an original letter on the school’s letterhead to the ADSA for approval to take the exam.

Route 5 – Lapsed Nursing Assistant

A nursing assistant, who has not provided nursing assistant services in the past 24 months, must retrain and retest to work in a nursing home.

Route 6 – Alternative Bridge Nursing Assistant

Home Care Aides and Medical Assistants certified by the Department of Health can complete an approved Alternative “Bridge” Program to take the NNAAP exam. Call 360-236-4700 for more information regarding approved programs.

Applications for the exam are available from your training program or the ADSA only. Your employer must sponsor your exam if you’re employed in a Medicaid-certified facility. The NACES must receive your application at least 12 business days before the exam.

Mail the

  • Completed application
  • The appropriate test fee, and
  • A copy of your Certificate of Completion to the NACES to schedule the exam.

After NACES receives your application, they will mail an Authorization to Test Notice within two business days. Call the NACE if you do not receive the Notice within ten business days.

Include a request for special accommodation for the exam if you have a documented disability and documents to support your request.

If you need to reschedule the exam, you must call NACES by 12:00 noon CST at least five business days before the exam date. Your fee will not be refunded if you do not call to reschedule within five business days and do not show up for your scheduled exam date. There is no penalty for rescheduling your exam if you notify NACES on time.

Exam Costs

Payment for the exam must be made by company check, certified check, or money order only. The money order or check should be made payable to “NACES.” Personal checks are not accepted. All payments are non-refundable. The fees for the exam are as follows:

  • Written Exam and Skills Evaluation – $110
  • Oral Exam and Skills Evaluation– $110
  • Written Exam Retest – $36
  • Oral Examination retest – $36
  • Skills Evaluation retest – $74

Submit payment for both exams if you’re taking the test for the first time. Under federal and Washington State laws, your nursing facility employer must pay for your training and test costs if you’re employed at a Medicare/Medicaid funded facility. You may be entitled to a pro-rated reimbursement of your expenses if you begin working at a Medicare/Medicaid funded facility within 12 months of certification.

NNAAP Exam Overview Washington

Nursing assistants must have the knowledge and skills to execute the responsibilities that they face in long-term care. The modified NNAAP exam ensures they are up-to-date with the content and skills to perform their duties. Candidates must pass all five clinical skills and an acceptable portion of the written exam to qualify for state certification and placement on the Washington Nurse Aide Registry.

The Written Exam

The two-hour Written exam contains 70 multiple-choice questions. The Nurse Aide Evaluator will provide instructions before the test begins and alert candidates fifteen minutes before the time expires.

The nursing assistant training program will provide all the content you need to prepare for the exam. However, practice tests are available to help you along if you need additional practice. Sample questions are available in the Candidate Handbook. Also, the NNAAP Exam Practice Exam Packet contains 60 multiple-choice questions and an answer booklet like the actual exam. The packet also contains the exam outline with a breakdown of the questions from each of the three main categories and the correct answer to each question.

The Oral Exam

The Oral Exam is available if you prefer to hear the questions read from a cassette tape, which is preferable if you have a reading disability or speak English as a second language. Like the Written Exam, the Oral exam contains 70 multiple-choice questions that you must complete in two hours. However, the exam contains two components. The first 60 multiple-choice questions relate to your understanding of the Role of the Nursing Aide, Physical Care Skills, and Psychosocial Care Skills. Part two of the exam contains 10 multiple-choice reading comprehension questions that test your ability to speak a minimum amount of English based on your understanding of common words that are a part of a nurse aide’s vocabulary. Each word will be read three times, and you’ll have to match the word to the written word on the test booklet. You must pass both parts to pass the Oral exam.

The Skills Exam

Of the five skills that you have to perform for the clinical exam, Handwashing will be included. The other four skills will be selected at random from the NNAAP Skills List. Practice is the key to performing well on the exam. You must clearly demonstrate that you can correctly and safely perform every nursing assistant skill. The Nurse Evaluator will assess your performance, making sure that you perform the critical element steps correctly for each skill. Apart from executing the critical elements, you must demonstrate the entire skill with a level of competency. If you make a mistake or forget a step, you can inform the NAE and make corrections during the skill. Corrections are not allowed if you’ve moved on to the next skill on your assignment card. The approximate time for the exam is 25 minutes. The Candidate Handbook contains a complete listing of the skills and the steps for each skill, including the critical element steps highlighted in bold type.

What To Bring To The Exam

Registration takes places before the exam, so arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled time for the Written (or Oral) Exam and the Skills Evaluation. You must provide proper identification to be allowed in the exam room. All identification must be current and official and have your signature. Photocopies of the identification are not acceptable. The Evaluator will refuse entry if your ID contains evidence of tampering. Examples of proper ID are a driver’s license, passport, clinic card, credit card, library card, alien registration card, and state-issued ID. The name on your ID must exactly match the name used on the application to register for the exam. If your name changes, you must bring a copy of an official document to support your name change.

You must have the following items on exam day:

  • Three No. 2 sharpened pencils and an eraser
  • Your social security number
  • A watch with a second hand
  • A Longman’s Dictionary of American English – this is the only dictionary allowed if you need one.

No other materials are permitted in the exam room. Do not take study materials and personal belongings, such as briefcases and large bags to the center, as they’re not allowed. Cellular phones, beepers, and other electronic devices must be turned off during the test. If you are late for the exam and do not bring the required materials, you will not be allowed to take the test and your fee will not be refunded.

Receiving Your Scores

The official score for the Written Exam and the Skills Evaluation will be available approximately ten minutes after the Evaluator faxes your test sheet for scoring. The report will reveal whether you passed or failed the exam. Remember, the Evaluator cannot answer questions related to the score sheet. Contact Pearson Vue directly at (800) 274-4097 if you have any questions.

If the Evaluator is unable to fax the answer sheets on the same day, you’ll receive the Official Score Report within 5 to 7 business days after the test sheets are mailed for hand scoring. Submit the score report and the retest fee to the NACES if you fail one or both parts of the exam and need to retest. According to state and federal regulations, you have up to three attempts within twelve months to pass both the Skills Evaluation and the Written (or Oral) Examination.

Contact the Registry

Aging and Disabilities Services Administration (ADSA)
PO Box 45600
Olympia, WA 98504-5600
(360) 725-2570
Fax: (360) 493-2581

Washington State Department of Health
Nursing Assistant Program
PO Box 47877
Olympia, WA 98504-7877
(360) 236-4700

Pearson Vue
Washington NNAAP
PO Box 13785
Philadelphia, PA 1901-3785
(800) 274-4097