CNA Exam and Certification Wisconsin

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The huge demand for direct care professionals, no licensing requirements, and short-term training requirements make nursing assisting one of the most sought after professions in Wisconsin. Through a contract with the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Pearson Vue manages the testing and certification of nurse aides. The American Red Cross schedules and administers the exam at regional testing centers and in-facility sites throughout the state. A prospective nurse aide must complete a state-approved training program comprising of at least 88 hours of classroom instruction and 32 hours of clinical practice before applying for the NNAAP exam. New nurse aide candidates must pass both parts of the exam within one year of graduating from the nurse aide training program. There is no restriction on the number of times a candidate can take the exam within the one-year period.

CNA Classes in WI:

How to Apply for the NNAAP Exam Wisconsin

The following is a list of the eligibility routes to apply for the NNAAP exam or direct placement on the Wisconsin Registry.

E1 – New Nurse Aide

Submit a copy of your certificate of completion with your NNAAP application if you successfully completed a nurse aide training program and have never been registered as a nurse aide. You must pass both parts of the exam within one year of completing the training program. You can retake the exam as many times as it takes to succeed in the one-year period. However, if you do not pass the exam within one year, you must enroll in another nurse aide training program.

E2- Student Nurse or Graduate Nurse

If you’re a student nurse or graduate nurse who has not completed the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN, you must submit an original transcript of your education and a student nurse/graduate nurse verification form stating that you met the training requirements to practice as a nurse aide. Send the Verification form to the Department of Health for approval and the authorization form will be issued if you’re eligible. Send the authorization form, completed NNAAP application, and fee to the American Red cross to schedule the exam. If you failed the NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN, you must complete an Application for Competency Evaluation and obtain a letter from the Board indicating that you failed the NCLEX. Submit the documents with the correct fee to the ARC for scheduling your exam.

E3- Foreign Educated Nurse Aide

If you completed a practical nursing or registered nursing program in another country, you must obtain a letter from the Wisconsin Board of Nursing verifying your nursing education and eligibility to take the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN.

E4- Out of State Nurse Aide

There are several methods for an out-of-state nurse aide to become eligible for placement on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry. If your certificate is current and in good standing on another state’s registry, you should contact the Registry to find out the options available.

E5- Lapsed Nurse Aide

If your Wisconsin certification has lapsed because you did not meet the employment requirements, you should contact the Registry to determine the renewal requirements.

E6- No Longer Available

E7- Home Health Nurse Aide

If you’re listed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry as an active nurse aide but do not have the certification to work in a federally certified home health setting, you should contact the Board for authorization to take the NNAAP.

Applications for the Competency Evaluation are available for download online or from your training provider. You may also send a self-addressed stamped envelope to ARC to receive it in the mail. Include your correct address, telephone number and email on the application to receive notifications from ARC. Your address on the application will become your address on record at the Nurse Aide Registry, so it must be correct and up-to-date to receive renewal notices, licenses, and other documents.

To schedule an exam under the eligibility routes listed above, you must submit:

  • A completed Application for Competency Evaluation.
  • The appropriate exam fee payable with a money order, company check or certified check made out to the American Red Cross. You may also make the payment using a credit card.
  • Documentation of your eligibility to take the exam. This may include a certificate of completion, copy of your license, or authorization letter from the Board.

If you need ARC to make special testing arrangements for the exam, you must request it with your application. Special arrangements will be made if you qualify under the Americans with Disabilities Act and submit documentation from a licensed professional detailing the type of disability. You should also include the type of accommodation needed.

You’ll receive a Confirmation Letter from ARC once your application is approved. The Confirmation Letter will contain your test date, location, and time. You may be scheduled at a regional test site or in-facility site. You can schedule a test date different to the one assigned if you contact ARC at least four business days before the exam date to reschedule. There is no cost to reschedule the exam within the stipulated guidelines. If you do not contact ARC within four business days to reschedule the exam and do not up on the scheduled date, you exam fee will not be refunded, and you’ll have to pay another fee to schedule a new date.

Exam Costs

The American Red Cross accepts payments made using a money order, certified check, or company check. The payment should include your name so it could be applied for your exam. Credit card payments are also available, but there’s a small surcharge for processing the payment. All fees are non-refundable and non-transferable once submitted.

The fees for the exam are as follows:

  • Written Exam and Skills Evaluation – $115
  • Oral Exam and Skills Evaluation– $115
  • Written Exam Retest – $45
  • Oral Exam Retest – $45
  • Skills Evaluation retest – $70

Exam fees processed with a credit card:

  • Written Exam and Skills Evaluation – $118.75
  • Oral Exam and Skills Evaluation– $118.75
  • Written Exam Retest – $46.50
  • Oral Exam Retest – $46.50
  • Skills Evaluation retest – $72.25

You must fax your application to ARC if you plan to pay via credit card.

NNAAP Exam Overview Wisconsin

The classroom lectures, hands-on lab, and clinical experiences made available in the nursing assistant program may be all the preparation you need to pass the Written (or Oral) exam and the Skills Evaluation. Review your notes, workbook, and textbooks. The NNAAP Skills List in the Candidate Handbook is another helpful tool to prepare for success. If you need additional aid, CNA practice tests are also helpful. You can find sample questions in the Candidate Handbook, but there are also numerous sites that simulate the exam by multiple-choice questions in a timed format and answers with feedback after you’ve completed the exam. You can take the exam as many times as you need to within one year of graduation to pass both the Written and Skills components. Your name will be added to the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry upon successful completion.

The Written Exam

The Written Exam is a two-hour exam consisting of 70 questions in multiple-choice format. The test questions are divided into three main categories each with a defined percentage. The categories are Physical Care Skills, Psychosocial Care Skills, and Role of the Nurse Aide and relate to a nurse aide’s duties, patient rights, and legal and ethical principles that govern practice. For statistical collection, ten questions will be non-scored items. Students won’t usually know the items that are non-scored. A Nurse Aide Evaluator will give instructions before the test begins and sound an alert fifteen minutes before the test ends.

The Oral Exam

The Oral alternative to the Written exam is an option if you have reading difficulties. A reading assessment with simple questions and multiple-choice responses in the Candidate Handbook could help you to decide whether you need the Oral exam. The answers to the assessment are listed at the end of the test. You’ll need to add your results and consider your score. A “passing” score is 17 or above. If you score less than 17 on the assessment, you should consider applying for the Oral exam which costs the same as the Written exam. Select the Oral option on the Application for Competency Evaluation and the Nurse Aide Evaluator will provide an MP3 player and headset at the test center. You’ll listen to both components of the exam and use the answer sheet to provide your responses. There are two parts to the exam. The first 60 questions will be similar to the Written exam. The final 10 questions will test your reading comprehension skills. All questions are in the multiple-choice format. You must receive a passing score on both parts to achieve success on the Oral exam.

The Skills Exam

You’ll demonstrate your ability to perform your duties as a CNA during the 30-minute skills evaluation. In an environment that is set up like an actual caregiving environment, the Nurse Aide Evaluator will point out all the equipment you’ll need to use for your test. You’ll receive an instruction card with the five skills you’ll have to perform – in the order they’re listed. The NAE will also review the guidelines for the evaluation. Another candidate will volunteer to play the role of a weakened elderly person. You will also need to act as a candidate volunteer for another skills evaluation, so dress appropriately in flat, slip-on, non-skid shoes with enclosed toes, a loose-fitting top with short sleeves, and loose-fitting pants that you can easily roll up. One of the tasks will be Hand-washing. The other four assigned tasks will be selected at random from the complete set of skills listings found in the Candidate Handbook. At least one of the four randomly selected tasks will be Recording a Measurement, such as “Measures and Records Blood Pressure,” “Counts and Records Radial Pulse,” or “Counts and Records Respiration.” You must pass all five skills to pass the exam. To pass each skill, you must be familiar with the Critical Element Step that you must perform perfectly. The Critical Element Steps for each skill is highlighted in bold type in the Candidate Handbook. If you make a mistake or forget a step, you can make corrections after you tell the NAE the step you forgot. Once you begin a new skill, you cannot go back to make corrections to a previous skill.

What To Bring To The Exam

According to the exam guidelines, you’re required to arrive 30 minutes before the scheduled time for check-in. During this time, the NAE will verify your two forms of identification and provide instructions for the exam. Check-in 30 minutes before both the written exam and the skills evaluation even though they’re on the same day. The two forms of required ID must contain your signature, and the name must match the name on the registration. One ID should have a recent photo. Acceptable forms of ID are a driver’s license, clinic card, library card, passport, social security card with signature, alien registration card, or state-issued identification card. Photocopies of the ID, tampered IDs, and expired IDs will not be accepted.

Other items to take to the center are:

  • Confirmation letter
  • Three no. 2 sharpened pencils
  • Eraser
  • A watch with a second hand

Appropriate attire is essential. If your attire and grooming are inappropriate for the clinical skills exam, you may have to leave the test site and reschedule to take it at a later date at your own expense. Long fingernails and dangling earrings are not acceptable.

Receiving Your Scores

At the end of the exam, the NAE will fax the test sheets for scoring. The official score report will be available approximately ten minutes later. The score report will reveal whether you passed or failed the Written and Skills exam – one report for each. If you fail the Written or Skills exam, the score report will contain details on how to re-apply for the exam. You must send the failing score report with a new application for a retest. Candidate’s applying under E1 or E4 routes must pass both parts of the exam within one year of completing the training program. There is no time limit for all other candidates.

If you pass both components of the exam, your name will be added to the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry and Pearson Vue will mail a Registry Card approximately three weeks later.

Contact the Registry

Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Division of Quality Assurance Office of Caregiver Quality
PO Box 2969
Madison, WI 53701-2969
608-261-8319

American Red Cross
WI NNAAP
1804 North Sixth Street
Harrisburg, PA 17102
Phone: (866) 257-5424
Fax: (866) 257-6506

Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry
Managed by Pearson Vue
PO Box 13785
Philadelphia, PA 19101-3785
(800) 329-8760


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