CNA Exam and Certification North Dakota

D & S Technologies (Headmaster) and Pearson Vue, through a contractual agreement with the North Dakota Department of Health, administer the Nurse Aide Competency Exam in North Dakota. Candidates are eligible for taking the exam after completing at least 75 hours of didactic and practical training in a state-approved program. As of 2016, there are 48 approved and active programs throughout the state. After passing both the written and skills CNA tests, candidates will be added to the North Dakota Nurse Aide Registry. The certification will remain valid for a period of two years from the test date. Certified Nurse Assistants must renew their certification biennially to continue practicing. The license expiration date will change with each subsequent renewal – based on the last date worked. Candidate for renewal must work a total of 8 hours within a continuous 24-month period, for compensation to qualify for renewal. The Department of Health will mail a 4×5 postcard with instructions for easy online renewals.

CNA Classes in ND:

How to Apply for the North Dakota CNA Exam

A new nurse aide graduate should contact the testing provider D&S Diversified Technologies or Pearson Vue to schedule the exam after completing the nurse assistant training program. A few training providers will make arrangements for graduates to take the exam at their in-facility site or regional testing center. Other providers leave it up to graduates to schedule the test on their own.

Nursing students, graduate nurses awaiting the NCLEX, previously certified nursing assistants, and military-trained medics and other candidates who have not completed nursing aide or other related training may be eligible to challenge the exam. CNAs with active certification from another state should apply for endorsement.

Complete the application packet from D&S or Pearson Vue to schedule a test date for the nurse aide exam.

Application forms are available online, at your nurse aide training provider, or the Department of Health. Include your social security number, correct mailing address, and your legal name exactly as it appears on the ID that you’ll take the test center. Submit with the following with your completed application form:

  • Training program certificate of completion – if you’re not taking the “challenge” route
  • The non-refundable certification by examination fee
  • An ADA accommodations packet if you need special arrangements for taking the test.

Contact the testing center/testing provider for details on rescheduling a new date for your exam. Generally, candidates must provide 24 hours’ notice to change a test date, or a no-show fee will be applied.

For testing submitted to D&S, you must reschedule within 14 days of the original test. There’s a cancellation/rescheduling fee of $15. Late arrivals are counted as a no show.

You have up to three attempts to pass the exam within 6 months of completing the training program. If you’re challenging the exam, you must pass the exam within three months of being entered in the system. You name will be added to the Nurse Aide Registry after you pass the Written (or Oral) exam and the Skills Evaluation.

Exam Costs

Test fees vary by provider. There may be an additional administration fee at testing centers:

  • Knowledge and skills test (initial exam) – $125.00
  • Knowledge test (retest) – $60.00
  • Skills evaluation (retest) – $65.00
  • Oral exam (retest) – $70.00
  • Challenge testing fee – $160.00
  • Reschedule fee- $15.00

All fees are non-refundable.

If you are employed or receive an offer of employment from a facility by the time you begin nurse aide training and competency evaluation program, you should not pay for any portion of the program – including course materials, tuition, textbooks, and state testing. If you’re not employed while enrolled in the training program/testing, you will be eligible for testing if you receive an offer of employment within 12 months of completing the nurse aide training and competency program.

CNA Exam Overview North Dakota

The CNA examination, whether administered by D&S or Pearson Vue, is designed to determine your readiness to administer safe and competent patient care. The exam comprises of a Written exam or Oral option and a Skills Evaluation. Success on both parts of the exam will qualify you for a listing on the State Nurse Aide Registry.

The Written Exam

D&S Diversified Technologies

D&S Written Test contains 72 multiple-choice questions. The questions cover 12 subject areas based on the state’s test plan. Areas covered include safety of residents, verbal and nonverbal communication, correct methods and procedures for dealing with infections, collecting date, residents’ rights, stages of disease, basic nursing skills, the basic role and responsibility of a CNA, personal care activities performed by a CNA, mental processes of residents, care impaired, and growth and development across the ages.

Before the test begins, the proctor will hand out materials and give instructions for taking the test. You’ll have 90 minutes to complete the 72 questions, and the proctor will announce when there are fifteen minutes left to complete the exam. Markings in the test booklet do not count – all answers must be recorded on the answer sheet. You must score at least 75 percent to pass the Written Test.

There’s an oral alternative to the Written test that you can take if you have difficulty reading English. There may be an additional cost for the Oral exam, and you must request it in advance when you submit your application to take the exam.

Pearson Vue

Pearson Vue’s Written exam contains 70 multiple-choice questions, including 10 pretest (non-scored) questions. You’ll have a maximum of two hours to complete the exam. A nurse aide evaluator will tell you when you have fifteen minutes remaining on the exam. Fill in your answers on the answer sheet as markings on the test booklet do not count. In line with North Dakota and national standards, the exam covers physical care skills, psychosocial care skills, and role of the nurse aide.

The oral exam is an option if you have difficulty reading English. If you request the Oral exam, a nurse aide evaluator will provide earphones and an MP3 player at the test center. The Oral exam is divided into two parts that you must pass to pass the exam. There are 60 multiple-choice questions on the first part of the exam. It follows the format and content allocation like the Written exam. The final ten questions on the second part of the exam are reading comprehension questions that test your understanding of common English terms used by nurse aides. The maximum time for the Oral exam is two hours.

The Skills Exam

D&S Diversified Technologies

The skills test will rate your clinical skills. You must obtain 80 percent overall and perform all the key steps to pass the exam. A complete list of tasks, including the key steps is available in the Candidate Handbook. Five tasks will be selected at random for you to perform. The evaluating nurse will read five scenarios related to the tasks assigned. You must listen carefully to the evaluator and ask questions before the exam begins. The scenario may be repeated as many times as you need. If you make a mistake while performing a task, you should notify the evaluator and repeat only those steps that you performed incorrectly. There will be a maximum time of 30 minutes for the skills exam.

Pearson Vue

If you’re taking the Pearson Vue administered exam, Handwashing will be one of the five tasks you’ll have to perform. The other four tasks will be selected at random from the Skills List outlined in the Candidate Handbook. You must perform the Critical Element Steps on each skill to pass the exam. If you recognize a mistake while performing a task, you should notify the evaluator and repeat the steps. You cannot go back to correct a skill if you’ve moved on to another skill. Out of the four randomly selected skills, at least one will involve recording a measurement.

Another candidate will play the role of the client. You must communicate with the “candidate” just as you would a client. Dress appropriately in scrubs or loose-fitting uniform and non-skid shoes for the clinical exam.

What To Bring To The Exam

Identification is essential to take the exam. Photocopies of your ID or expired IDs will not be accepted. One ID must be photo identification, and both should have your signature. Some test sites require that you provide your social security number. To check in and verify your ID, you must arrive 20 to 30 minutes before the scheduled exam time. A late arrival will be counted as a no-show, and you’ll have to reapply and pay another fee to take the exam.

Examples of proper identification include a driver’s license, photo credit card, alien registration card, passport, and signature-bearing social security card. Your name on the ID must be the same as the name you used to apply for the exam.

Study aids, papers, extra books, electronic devices, large handbags, and briefcases are not allowed in the testing area. Cell phones, beepers, and other communication devices are not permitted in the exam room.

Receiving Your Scores

D&S Diversified Technologies will deliver your test results by mail or email (if you provided an email address) within 5 days of the test date. The report will indicate whether you passed or failed the Written/Oral Test and Skills Test. A failing report will highlight the content areas that need improvement. To retest, you must submit a rate structure form, copy of your results, and retest fee to D&S. Results are submitted electronically to the ND Department of Health, and your name will be added to the Registry if you pass the exam.

A nurse aide evaluator at a Pearson Vue test center will fax your answer sheets for scoring after you complete the exam. Your official score report will be available for collection at the test center within minutes after the evaluator faxes the reports for scoring. The report will show whether you passed or failed the exam. If there are technical difficulties that hinder the nurse aide evaluator from faxing the report, it will be mailed to you within 5 to 7 business days after the test date.

Contact the Registry

North Dakota Department of Health

Division of Health Facilities
Cindy Kupfer, CNA Registry
600 East Blvd Ave Dept. 301
Bismarck, ND 58505
Phone: 701-328-2353
Fax: 701-328-1890


Amy Owens, Program Manager
PO Box 6609
Helena, MT 59604
Phone: (800) 393-8664
Fax: (406) 442-3357

Pearson Vue
PO Box 13785
Philadelphia, PA 19101-3785
(800) 475-8304