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Certified Nursing Assistant Requirements in Arkansas

Arkansas nursing assistants are regulated by the Office of Long Term Care (OLTC). They are placed in the nursing assistant registry after they complete training and pass an examination The OLTC contracts with Prometric to administer examinations and manage the registry.

Arkansas CNAs can expect criminal background checks at the employment level.

Select an Arkansas Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Topic:

Training Pathways

Training is mandatory. There are multiple pathways.

The most direct route is to complete an Arkansas approved CNA program. Arkansas-approved program include at least 90 hours of education and training (http://humanservices.arkansas.gov/about-dhs/dms/office-of-long-term-care).

Nursing assistants who completed programs in other states but did not test/ become certified in the original state are eligible to take the examination if the Office of Long Term Care determines that the training meets federal standards.

Applicants with Alternate Healthcare Training: LPN or RN students who have completed at least the equivalent of Basic Nursing I are eligible to take the CNA competency exam.

Click Here to see Nurse Aide and other entry to nursing/health care programs in Arkansas.

Individuals who complete home health aide programs that meet federal guidelines may test as CNAs without completing separate CNA training. They will need to provide documentation showing that their program was at least 75 hours and/ or that federal testing requirements were met.

Arkansas no longer has a pathway specifically for individuals with training as medical specialists in the U.S. armed forces. However, Prometric advises such candidates to contact the OLTC about 'Option 8'.

Option 8 allows the OLTC to exercise discretion in approving individuals for testing whose training may deviate from the standard pathways. LPNs or RNs who hold current licensing, or have held licensing in the past, apply under Option 8.

Examination Requirements

Arkansas CNAs take the Nursing Assistant Competency Exam. There are two components: knowledge and practical skills. The knowledge exam is available only in English but can be presented in written or oral format. Candidates who are unsure whether to take the written or oral knowledge examination may take a reading assessment. They should make their decision at the time of application.

The skills test will involve actually demonstrating a sampling of skills. Assisting someone to walk, changing bed linens while the person is in bed, and measuring breathing are among the skills that may be assessed. There will be a “resident actor” to play the part of the patient.

Test takers can download candidate information bulletins and basic preparation materials from the ‘Arkansas Nurse Aide Exam’ page of the Prometric site (https://www.prometric.com/en-us/clients/nurseaide/pages/ar.aspx). Additional preparation materials are available for a fee.

Registration and scheduling procedures will vary. Some Arkansas facilities do the testing on-site. In other cases, the candidate will need to take the exam at a regional site; he or she will enter the site code for the selected location on the application form. A candidate who needs to reschedule a testing session scheduled at a regional site should contact Prometric well in advance. (A test taker who fails to notify the testing agency five business days in advance will need to pay the testing fee to reschedule.)

A candidate who fails either the knowledge or skills examination will receive information to improve test performance.

Three attempts are allowed. A candidate who completed an Arkansas-approved program must pass within one year of program completion. Candidates who are approved under other pathways must test within one year of testing eligibility approval. Otherwise it will be necessary to retrain.

Applicants Who Have Been Registered as CNAs

Arkansas nurse assistants who have not worked as CNAs in the prior 24 months and have let their certification expire will need to retest. Those who have held certification and worked as CNAs within the prior 24 months may be eligible for renewal.

Out-of-State CNAs

Out-of-state CNAs who are currently registered may be candidates for reciprocity. If they are not current, they will be required to test in Arkansas. Out-of-state CNAs are directed to contact the OLTC at 501-682-8430; the OLTC will make the determination.

The Application Process

Application procedures vary according to eligibility pathway.

Candidates who completed Arkansas-approved CNA programs will submit application materials directly to Prometric unless they are taking their examinations on-site at their school or nursing home; in this case, they may be directed to give their applications to an on-site representative. Individuals who are applying to Prometric will need to submit CNA training documentation that shows the date of completion.

Individuals who completed home health aide training will also submit applications and provide training documentation directly to Prometric.

Former Arkansas nursing assistants who need to retake the examination because they lack recent work experience and have allowed their certificates to expire will also submit their materials directly to Prometric. They are directed to provide a certificate number if it is available.

Individuals applying through other pathways will first contact the Office of Long Term Care. After receiving a letter of approval, they will submit applications to Prometric.

Applicants with current or previous out-of-state certification will submit exemption/ reciprocity forms to the OLTC. Forms can be obtained directly from the OLTC; they are also posted on the Human Services website (http://humanservices.arkansas.gov/about-dhs/dms/long-term-care-information-for-providers/regulations). Arkansas will contact the registries of all states where the CNA has been registered. An eligible CNA will either be transferred to the Arkansas registry or authorized to apply to Prometric.

Application materials can be downloaded from Prometric (https://www.prometric.com/en-us/clients/nurseaide/pages/ar.aspx).

Prometric will send status emails to inform applicants if their application was incomplete or if it was complete and they have been scheduled for examination. Applications submitted without the required fees will be returned.

Fee Payment

Arkansas will pay testing fees for candidates who are employed in nursing homes or have offers of employment in nursing homes. It will be necessary to submit a letter on letterhead to Prometric.

The state will not pay rescheduling fees.

Candidates who are not eligible to have the state cover their testing fees will pay $10 for initial eligibility screening and $79 for the full assessment. It costs $45 to take the clinical skills test and $34 to take the written or oral test. Fees may be paid by money order, certified check, or credit card.

Candidates who are retaking an examination after a failure must submit new applications.

Additional Information

The Arkansas Office of Long Term Care can be found on the web at http://humanservices.arkansas.gov/about-dhs/dms/office-of-long-term-care. The OLTC can be reached at 501-682-8430 or ‘cna.oltc at Arkansas.gov’.

Prometric can be reached at 800-818-8917 or ‘ARCNA at prometric.com’.

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