CNA Exam and Certification Tennessee

A prospective nurse aide must enroll in an approved nurse aide training program comprising of 75 hours of didactic and clinical instruction. A registered nurse with at least 2 years’ experience in long-term care will conduct the training. Before commencing the clinical portion of the training, students must complete 16 hours of training in resident independence, resident rights, communication and interpersonal skills, infection control, and safety and emergency procedures. State and federal regulations outline the other theoretical components covered in the program as well as the 25 competency skills students should possess. The Nurse Aide Competency Exam evaluates candidates’ performance of five out the twenty-five defined skills.

CNA Classes in TN:

How to Apply for the Tennessee CNA Exam

A nurse assistant candidate is only eligible for certification after completing an approved nurse aide training program and passing the state competency exam – within 24 months of completing the class.

Student nurses (enrolled in an approved licensed practical nurse or registered nurse program), may apply to challenge the test after completing basic nursing fundamentals and skills and submitting transcripts as evidence of their coursework.

Nurse assistants certified in another state – except Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina – may apply for registration on the Tennessee Nurse Aide Registry by reciprocity. Only CNAs listed in active status with no derogatory or abuse information are eligible for reciprocity. Candidates from Georgia must verify their status and apply to challenge the test while candidates from Florida or North Carolina must retrain and retest in Tennessee to practice as a Certified Nurse Assistant.

A military trained medic may apply to challenge the test by submitting a copy to the DD-214 to the Tennessee Board of Nursing.

Once issued, certification is valid for 24 months. CNAs are eligible to recertify every two years after completing and submitting evidence of at least 8 hours of practice as a nurse assistant in the 2-year timeframe.

Headmaster (D & S Diversified Technologies) has been selected by the Board to provide test scheduling, tests, and scoring services for Tennessee’s Nurse Aide Testing. After completing the nurse assistant program, the training provider will submit your details to the testing service to schedule a date for the exam.

If you choose to register on your own, you must obtain your test ID number and PIN from your nurse aide training program. You can also call HEADMASTER for the information.

  • Visit and select Tennessee under the Nurse Aide column.
  • Enter the test ID number and PIN in the Student/Candidate column and answer all the questions at the bottom of the screen.
  • Acknowledge the Attestation by leaving a check mark.
  • Use a Visa or MasterCard to prepay for the exam.
  • Select your preferred test location and date and submit the information.

A test notification will appear if you’re scheduled for the test.

Headmaster accepts mail-in applications. Print the 1101 and 1402 forms from the website and answer all the questions. Mail or fax the completed forms with a copy of your training certificate. A fax fee of $5.00 applies to all faxed applications.

There’s a $15 Express Service Fee and $19.50 Overnight Shipping fee if you want to take the exam in less than 10 business days from the date Headmaster receives the application.

Headmaster will send notification of your test date and time via email or mail. Call the office if you do not receive communication from the testing service within five business days of submitting your application.

The Tennessee Department of Health and Headmaster provide reasonable accommodations if you have a limitation or disability that affects your ability to take the Nurse Aide Competency Exam. You must complete form 1404TN to request appropriate accommodation for the exam.

You may reschedule an alternative date, one time, during the three attempt testing cycle. There’s no charge to reschedule if you request a new date up to 24 business hours prior to the test time. The new date must occur within 60 days of the previously assigned test date. A reschedule fee of $35 will apply if the reschedule is not within 60 days.

Cancellations are accepted if you contact Headmaster at least 24 business hours before the test date. A full refund will be issued minus the $25 cancellation fee.

Exam Costs

The established testing fees in Tennessee are as follows:

  • Knowledge test – $30.00
  • Oral test – $30.00
  • Skills test – $63.00
  • Express Overnight shipping – $19.50
  • Express service fee – $15.00/packet
  • Priority Fax Service – $5.00
  • Reschedule fee – $35.00
  • Cancellation – Partial Refund
  • No Show – $25.00

When taking the exam for the first time, you must schedule both the written/oral and skills test at the same time.

Headmaster accepts cashiers check, money order, Visa or MasterCard only. Personal checks are not accepted. However, checks from a facility are accepted. Do not pay for the test if you’re employed in a long-term care facility. Instead, you should fill out your employer’s name and address and obtain a signature from your supervisor.

CNA Exam Overview Tennessee

Candidates for nurse aide certification in Tennessee must take the Written and Skills test and successfully pass both components of the exam. The passing score for the Written Exam is 75%, and the passing score for the skills exam is 80% for each skill. If you fail one part of the exam, you must reapply to retake the entire exam. If you pass both components of the exam, your name will be added to the Tennessee Nurse Aide Registry.

The Written Exam

A Test Proctor will hand out the test materials and give guidelines for the Written Test. There will be 75 questions on the 90-minute exam. The proctor will indicate when 15 minutes remain. The written test is available in English or Spanish format. You must select your language of choice when you apply for the exam. If you opt for the Spanish test, you will need to successfully complete an English comprehension component of the exam, comprising of 10 questions, to pass the Written exam. You must score 75% or more on the Written exam to pass.

The written test will be available in electronic format at selected test sites in Tennessee. At these centers, you’ll need to complete ten practice questions and other questions related to taking the test before the actual exam begins.

All candidates have the option to answer some additional questions that will be used to gather statistical information for future tests. Responses are voluntary and do not affect the final score.

There are twelve subject areas covered in the Written exam. Some of them include infection control, disease process, aging process, basic nursing skills, mental health, data collection, and personal care.

The Oral Exam (Alternative)

Candidates have the option to take the Oral test in conjunction with the Written test if they indicate it on the application. The questions will be read from a cassette tape but will also be available in a written test booklet. Ten questions will not be available in audio. The candidate must read and answer those questions without the aid of the cassette player.

The Skills Exam

The Skills Test is designed to assess your ability to perform a subset of nurse aide tasks covered in the nursing assistant program. A complete list of 27 skills is available in the Candidate Handbook. Handwashing will always be one of the assigned tasks. The other four skills will be selected randomly from the Skills List. You must score at least 80% on each skill to pass the Skills Test. Also, it is essential that you do not skip any of the key steps (highlighted in bold). If you fail a single task, you must reapply for the skills exam where you’ll have to perform the one you failed.

A Test Proctor will read five scenarios related to your five assigned tasks immediately before you begin the task. You’ll have 35 minutes to complete all five tasks. If you make a mistake, inform the Test Proctor and then repeat the task or step you performed incorrectly. Get answers to all your questions before the test begins.

What To Bring To The Exam

You should arrive at the confirmed test site 20 to 30 minutes before the scheduled time. Take the following items:

  • A signed, current, photo ID – issued by the U.S. government. Examples include a driver’s license or passport.
  • Your social security card.
  • Several sharpened No. 2 pencils and eraser.

Your original ID must exactly match the name used to apply for the test. No photocopies or faxes will be accepted. If your name changes, you must submit legal documentation of the name change to the Office at least 48 hours before the scheduled test date.

Dress appropriate for the exam in full clinical attire and shoes with your hair pulled back. Clinical attire is mandatory, and you will not be allowed to take the test if you’re dressed inappropriately.

Wristwatches are not permitted in the exam room.

Receiving Your Scores

Headmaster will calculate your score for the Written Test and Skills Evaluation and report the results to the Tennessee Board of Nursing. If you pass the exam, your name will be registered on the Nurse Aide Registry and a card will be mailed to your address on record 4 to 6 weeks later.

If you fail one or both parts of the exam, you must reapply to take the NA test. The guidelines for replying will be included in the notification letter. A diagnostic report will also be included in the notification. Use the report to prepare for success the next time around.

To view your test results, log in to the Student/Candidate area on and enter your identification number (SSN), test date, and date of birth.

You can test up to three times within 24 months of graduating from nurse aide training program.

Contact the Registry
Tennessee Nurse Aide Registry
665 Mainstream Drive, 2nd Floor
Nashville, TN 37243
(615) 532-5171
Fax: (615) 248-3601

D & S Diversified Technologies LLP
333 Oakland Avenue
Findlay, OH 45840
Toll-Free (877) 201-0758
Fax (412) 422-8328