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Certified Nursing Assistant in Arizona

Arizona’s Certified Nursing Assistants are certified by the Arizona State Board of Nursing (AZBN). A person needs to complete an approved training program, pass a knowledge and skills examination, and clear a criminal background check.

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Training Requirements

The prospective CNA will either complete a board-approved program or apply for a waiver based on other healthcare training.

Click Here to see a list of CNA programs in Arizona as well as other entry to nursing programs.

Approved CNA programs are 120 hours or longer. A list of qualifying programs can be found on the AZBN website (http://www.azbn.gov/education/nursing-programs-lists/).The Board also publishes examination pass rate by program.

Applicants who completed programs approved in other states will need to document the number of hours of training.

Completion of an LPN or RN program is also certificate-qualifying (https://www.azbn.gov/Documents/npa/RULES-Update%20as%20of%20July%2025%202014%20effec%209-8-14.pdf). AZBN will accept a nursing license issued by any state as evidence that educational requirements have been met.

Alternate Healthcare Training/ Waivers

A student may apply for a nursing student waiver after completing a nursing course that included instruction in long term care as well as 40 hours of actual patient care in a long term care facility or other comparable site. The instructor or director will need to sign the waiver form.

Individuals may apply for military waivers if they have completed at least 100 hours of healthcare training in the military and have worked in healthcare during the most recent two year period.

Applicants may also receive waivers based on completion of foreign nursing programs.

Examination Requirements

An Arizona CNA must take the Certified Nursing Assistant Examination. It includes two components: knowledge and skills. The knowledge test can be presented in audio and written formats.

The examination is administered by Headmaster. A candidate handbook is available on the ‘AZ CNA’ page of the Headmaster site (http://www.hdmaster.com/testing/cnatesting/arizona/AZ_CNA_Home.htm).

A candidate will need to be registered with AZBN; this is typically done by the nursing program. Test takers who have not completed AZBN-approved nursing assistant programs will need to provide evidence that they have been approved for waiver. A person who completed nursing assistant training more than two years in the past will need to provide documentation of employment.

Some Arizona schools host examinations and schedule their own students. In other cases, the test taker must submit a payment and scheduling form to Headmaster. Testing schedules and required forms are available on the “AZ CNA’ page of the Headmaster site.

Self-pay candidates pay $28 for a written knowledge test or $38 for an oral knowledge test (http://www.hdmaster.com/testing/cnatesting/arizona/azformpages/azforms/1402AZ.pdf). The skill test is $85 for self-pay.

The application is to be in at least eight business days before a scheduled examination. There is an additional $5 fee for faxed applications.

A candidate who passes ether the knowledge or skills test will need to retake only the failed test. A candidate who fails the knowledge test three times, however, must wait 45 days.

Both portions are to be passed within two years of program completion. Otherwise, it will be necessary to retrain (unless the candidate can document having worked as a nursing assistant for at least 160 hours during every two-year period since program completion).

Questions about the testing process can be directed to Headmaster at (800) 393-8664 between 8:00 AM and 6:00 PM Mountain Time.

Background Check Requirements

A fingerprint-based background check will be required. The applicant must use a fingerprint card that is pre-printed with AZBN information. If the person submits an application without a completed fingerprint card, the Board will provide a card.

The Board notes that it can take four weeks to receive results.

The Board will not accept a DPS clearance card; nor will it accept fingerprints made for other agencies.

An applicant who has had a felony conviction must be at least five years past “absolute discharge”. Criminal history may significantly delay application processing time.

The Application Process

Application materials are available on the AZBN website (https://www.azbn.gov/applications). Application forms are to be completed in black ink.

Applicants need to document citizenship or other lawful status. The Board will accept copies of various documents including post-1996 Arizona driver’s licenses, Arizona ID cards, birth certificates, passports, and tribal certificates, but will not accept social security cards. If the citizenship document does not include a photograph, the applicant should present an additional government document that does.

There is no mandatory application fee for candidates applying by examination. However, applicants will need to pay $50 if they wish their certificate issued as a document. (Otherwise, status can be verified online.)

Applicants who wish to have their fingerprints processed before passing the examination will pay an additional $50.

Application packets may be mailed or hand delivered to the Board office in Phoenix.

Processing may take one to two months.

Out-of-State CNAs

A nursing assistant can be endorsed on the basis of active registry in another state.

The nursing assistant must also meet Arizona training requirements. A nursing assistant program approved by another U.S. state or territory can be accepted if it was at least 120 hours. A program of 75 hours can be accepted if the applicant can also document at least 45 hours of work experience as a nursing assistant.

In addition, the applicant will need to meet one of the following requirements:

  • 160 hours of work as a nursing assistant within the prior two years
  • Completion of a nursing assistant program and required examination within the prior two years
  • Current work doing nursing assistant activities even if job title is not ‘Certified Nursing Assistant’

One can find a ‘Proof of Nurse Aide Registration’ form in the endorsement application packet. This must be sent to the state of certification or registry, along with any fee required by the receiving agency.

Arizona charges an endorsement application fee of $50.

CNA-CMA Certification

After six months of full-time employment (or 960 hours) as a CNA, a nursing assistant may be eligible to train as a Certified Medication Assistant.

Additional Information

Certification information can be found on the site of the Arizona State Board of Nursing (https://www.azbn.gov/). CNA certification rules begin on page 63 of the 2014 Nurse Practice Act rules update (https://www.azbn.gov/laws-rules/nurse-practice-act).

An applicant may call (602) 771-7800 for assistance.

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