Certified Nursing Assistant Requirements in Florida
Florida’s Certified Nursing Assistants are credentialed on the basis of examination. A prospective CNA must pass knowledge and practical skills tests. Certification also depends on clearing a fingerprint-based criminal background check and demonstrating an acceptable professional history.
Multiple agencies are involved in the CNA certification process. The Florida Department of Health contracts with Prometric to administer assessments and carry out some steps in the application process. The Board of Nursing carries out background screening.
Select a Florida Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Topic:
- CNA Training and Examination Eigibility in Florida
- Examination Requirements
- The Application Process
- Criminal Background Checks
- CNA by Reciprocity
- Temporary Permits
- Advanced Certifications
- Contacts, Nursing Assistant Programs and Additional Information
- Advancement: CNA to RN Programs
CNA Training and CNA Examination Eligibility
There are multiple training pathways. The most direct is to complete a state-approved program, though a state approved CNA training program is not required prior to taking the examination. An individual may also apply on the basis of other nursing training. Florida will also allow people to challenge the examination if they have not had the usual training but believe they can pass both the written and practical skills tests. This option is only available to individuals who are at least 18 years of age and/ or in possession of a high school diploma.
Florida candidates must pass both parts of the Prometric Nurse Aide Exam: skills and knowledge. The skills test involves carrying out a sampling of actual nursing assistant duties. All test takers are evaluated on hand washing technique and on indirect care behavior. Each test taker is evaluated on three additional skills; these are randomly assigned. The clinical skills test checklist details all skills that may be assigned. This is available from Prometric (https://www.prometric.com/en-us/clients/Nurseaide/Pages/FL.aspx).
The knowledge examination is available in multiple formats. Candidates can opt for a written or written/audio examination in either English or Spanish. They will make their choice at the time of application. The written test includes 60 multiple choice questions. Sample questions are available in the candidate handbook. The test taker can also purchase practice tests from Prometric.
Some prospective CNAs will test at their own facilities. Others will select regional testing sites. The examination is available at more than 25 testing sites around Florida. A list is available on the ‘Florida Nurse Aide Exam’ page of the Prometric site (https://www.prometric.com/en-us/clients/Nurseaide/Pages/FL.aspx).
The candidate will receive results of both tests on the day of the examination. Approximately one week later, the Board of Nursing will receive the official results directly from Prometric.
Although candidates will initially be required to register for both assessments, those who fail one will only need to register for the one that was failed. The fee for the two required tests is $140. The retake fee is $105 for the clinical skills test and $35 for the written test (regardless of test format). Rescheduling incurs additional fees.
A test taker is allowed up to three attempts and up to two years. In some cases, an individual who does not meet the two-year requirement will be allowed to reapply to Prometric under an alternative pathway, E4: Other Nursing Training. An individual who fails either test three times will be ineligible unless he or she subsequently completes an approved program. Prometric notes that the approved program will be at least 120 hours.
Background Check Requirement
Candidates must clear FBI background checks before they can be approved for testing. (They will, however, need to wait to receive notification from Prometric that their application has been received before initiating the process.)
Florida uses a Livescan process. This means that fingerprints are made electronically. Applicants may use any Livescan site that has been approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. The Board of Nursing has provided a link to a listing of approved Livescan providers (http://www.floridahealth.gov/licensing-and-regulation/background-screening/livescan-service-providers.html). Fees may vary.
The Application Process
Candidates submit their applications before completing the examination and background check requirements. Those enrolled in approved training programs may submit applications before program completion. However, eventually they will need to have their program coordinator submit verification. All candidates who apply for first-time nursing assistant certification on the basis of state-approved training programs are required to submit verification of program completion; program coordinators can do this electronically.
Application forms are available on the ‘Florida’ page of the Prometric website (https://www.prometric.com/en-us/clients/Nurseaide/Pages/FL.aspx). There is also a link to an online application process. Individuals may apply by either method.
The application includes questions about criminal history. Individuals with “yes” answers are directed to submit three to five letters of recommendation from employers or people that they have worked with. They will also include their own explanations of convictions. The Board of Nursing will require additional legal documents pertaining to criminal history.
Individuals who are testing in-facility will submit their applications to their training coordinators. Others will mail them to Prometric at the address listed on the application. They will wait for further instructions and authorization to test.
In some cases, the application specialist may request additional information from an applicant before giving examination approval.
Examination is the last step of the process. Prometric notes, however, that it may be more than four weeks before the certificate is actually issued and mailed.
CNA by Reciprocity
CNAs with active status in other states can be certified by reciprocity provided that they meet Florida’s background check requirements. Reciprocity candidates are not required to take the Prometric CNA Exam.
Reciprocity applications are available for download on the Board of Nursing website (http://floridasnursing.gov/resources/).
Reciprocity applications are mailed to the Department of Health. There are two addresses shown on the application, a post office box and a physical address. The post office box address is for the application itself; the physical address is for additional supporting documentation.
In most cases, the Board of Nursing will carry out the verification process. In some cases, the CNA will be sent a verification form to submit to the appropriate out-of-state agency.
An out-of-state nursing assistant who is not current will be required to pass the Prometric CNA Exam. The candidate will select pathway ‘E5: Lapsed Nursing Assistant’ when applying to Prometric.
Licensing information can be found on the site of the Florida Board of Nursing (http://floridasnursing.gov/licensing/certified-nursing-assistant-examination/). CNA regulations are found in Florida Rule Chapter: 64B9-15 (https://www.flrules.org/gateway/chapterhome.asp?chapter=64B9-15).
The Department of Health can be reached at ‘mqa.cna at flhealth.gov’.
Additional information is available through Prometric. Prometric can be reached by email at ‘FLCNA at prometric.com’ or by telephone at 888-277-3500.
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