Certified Nurse Aide Requirements in Colorado

Colorado’s Certified Nurse Aides are credentialed by the State Board of Nursing. In order to be certified, an individual must complete a training program and pass a competency examination.

Select a Colorado Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Topic:

Training and Testing Eligibility

A prospective nurse aide must complete an approved program. A Colorado program must be Colorado-approved. A student who completes a program approved by another state, however, can be approved to test in Colorado.

Individuals who train as RNs, LPNs, or psychiatric technicians are deemed by the Colorado Board to have nursing assistant training (http://cdn.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DORA-Reg/CBON/DORA/1251631690394). They may take the competency exam after completing a minimum of five semester hours of coursework in nursing fundamentals.

Nurses and psychiatric technicians who hold licensing in any U.S. state or territory can test as CNAs in Colorado; this is also the case with former RNs, LPNs, and LPTs who were in good standing with their licensing agency but allowed their credentials to expire.

Nurses with disciplinary action against their licenses may be found eligible following a Board review. CNAs whose licenses were surrendered or revoked in the past may also be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. In this instance, retraining must be documented.

Nurses who were trained outside the United States may also be approved for testing.

According to a recent policy statement, individuals who have received military healthcare training may submit transcripts to the Board of Nursing. If the training is found to be equivalent to CNA training, the individual will receive a letter which will serve as a proof of training and eligibility affidavit; the letter can be submitted to the testing company, along with an examination application (http://cdn.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DORA-Reg/CBON/DORA/1251631690394).

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The Examination Process

Colorado CNAs take the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP). It is comprised of two tests: a skills test and a knowledge test. Candidates may take the knowledge portion as a written test or as an oral test in English or Spanish.

The examination is administered by Pearson VUE. Pearson VUE has provided a candidate handbook that includes a content outline as well as an overview of the testing process. Test takers will find other resources, including a Spanish language CNA skills list, on the “Colorado Nurse Aides’ page of the Pearson website (http://www.asisvcs.com/indhome.asp?CPCat=0706NURSE).

Test takers will consult the list of regional test sites and examination dates. They will note their preferred regional testing site(s) on their applications; they will be scheduled for the next available test at a preferred location. Those who cannot attend the session that they are scheduled for are directed to contact Pearson at least five business days before the examination.

Candidates will initially register for both tests; both will be administered on the same day. Evaluators will fax score sheets and skills evaluations; the score report will generally be available ten minutes after faxing. If there is a technical issue, score reports will instead be mailed. An applicant can request another copy by calling Pearson at (888) 274-5050.

A candidate who fails one test need only retake the failed one. The re-examination candidate will submit the score report to Pearson, along with the retake fee. Three attempts are allowed. An individual who fails three attempts must enroll in another state-approved program.

Candidates are also expected to pass the NNAAP within 24 months of their initial application to Pearson. A candidate who allows 24 months to elapse will need to re-apply.

Examination applicants must initially pay $123. Subsequent attempts at the skills test will cost $78; subsequent attempts at the knowledge test, $45.

The Application Process

Prospective CNAs apply after they have met all requirements but examination. In most cases, examination applicants will find all materials they need on the Pearson Vue site (http://www.asisvcs.com/indhome.asp?CPCat=0706NURSE). Internationally educated nurses are an exception; they are asked to contact the Board of Nursing at (303) 894-2437.

Applicants should be sure they have the most current application. CNA students may receive application packets from their training program. Those who don’t can download them from Pearson or call (888) 274-5050.

Applicants will sign affidavits of eligibility, attesting to legal presence in the United States.

Some supporting documentation will be required; this will vary, depending on eligibility route.

New applicants who were trained in Colorado will include their proof of training affidavits. Those trained out-of-state will attach copies of training certificates.

Nurses and psychiatric technicians may include copies of their licenses or transcripts documenting qualifying education.

Nursing or psy-tech students who have completed the required nursing fundamentals coursework will submit transcripts or letters of verification.

Nurses with active discipline will include copies of their most recent license. They will answer “yes” to screening question #8 and include supporting documentation. Pearson notes that these applications will require Board review and the process will be longer.

CNAs whose credentials were revoked or surrendered will also mark “yes” to question #8. They will include documentation of additional training. These applications are reviewed by the Nurse Aide Advisory Committee.

All materials will be sent together to the following address:

Pearson VUE/State Board of Nursing
3131 S Vaughn Way, Ste 205
Aurora, CO 80014

Endorsement Applicants

CNAs who were certified on the basis of examination in other U.S. jurisdictions and who are current and in good standing may be certified in Colorado without further examination. Requirements are summarized in the endorsement application checklist.

Endorsement applicants apply online; the link is found on the website of the Board of Nursing website (http://cdn.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DORA-Reg/CBON/DORA/1251632077473). An instructional video is also available. The applicant should be prepared to pay fees by credit card or electronic check.

If certification status in the home state cannot be verified online, the applicant will need to provide verification.

A currently certified out-of-state CNA who meets Colorado requirements may begin working in the state prior to obtaining Colorado certification — provided that the employer has called to verify status. However, the process must be complete within four months of employment or eligibility will be lost. Status can be monitored online (www.dora.colorado.gov/professions/nursing). The Board may also send communication by email.

Reinstatement Applicants

A CNA whose certification expired less than two years in the past and who can document at least eight hours of CNA employment during the previous two years may apply for reinstatement. The reinstatement application can be found on the Board of Nursing website. It is to be submitted with a $30 fee.

Military Spouses

In most cases, nursing assistant employed at home health agencies or nursing homes must be certified within four months of employment; in some other employment settings, the CNA must be certified before employment (http://cdn.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DORA-Reg/CBON/DORA/1251632077473).

Husbands and wives of U.S. Armed Forces are an exception (http://cdn.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite?c=Page&childpagename=DORA-Reg%2FDORALayout&cid=1251631780838&pagename=CBONWrapper). Military spouses will need to maintain an active credential in some jurisdiction during the time period that they are covered by military exemption. They are advised to begin the Florida credentialing process promptly if they will be in the state for an extended period of time.

Additional Information

CNA credentialing information is found on the website of the Division of Professions and Occupations: Board of Nursing (http://cdn.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DORA-Reg/CBON/DORA/1251632077473). Additional information is found in the Nurse Aide Practice Act and in Board rules and policies (http://cdn.colorado.gov/cs/Satellite/DORA-Reg/CBON/DORA/1251631690394).


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