State Registered Nurse Aide Requirements in Kentucky

The Kentucky Nurse Aide Registry is maintained by the state’s Board of Nursing in cooperation with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services: Department of Medicaid Services. Individuals who meet requirements are credentialed as State Registered Nurse Aides, or SRNAs. The Board of Nursing acknowledges they are sometimes also referred to as ‘certified nurse aides’. Certified Nurse Aide, or CNA, is the title that is in more common usage around the nation.

Nurse aides are placed on the registry after they meet training and examination requirements. SRNAs must also have acceptable backgrounds. Backgrounds may be investigated at the training level. Kentucky, like other states, maintains an abuse registry: a listing of nurse aides who have adverse findings and are barred from future employment.

Select a Kentucky State Registered Nurse Aide (SRNA) Topic:

Nurse Aide Training Requirements

Nurse aides must meet state and federal training requirements. Unless a prospective Kentucky SRNA has completed equivalent nursing education, he or she must enroll in a Kentucky-approved nurse aide program. Prospective students can receive a current listing of approved programs by calling 502-564-6890. The Department of Medicaid Services has issued a caution about unapproved home study programs (

Moreover, the Commonwealth of Kentucky does not grant testing approval to individuals who complete nurse aide programs approved by other states. Out-of-state students have the option of fulfilling the other state’s requirements and then seeking certification in Kentucky.

Nursing students will not be required to complete separate SRNA programs. They can be approved to test as SRNAs in Kentucky (

Kentucky has set training requirements at the level specified in federal mandates. Programs must be at least 75 hours. They must include a minimum of 16 hours of supervised practical training. The Department of Medicaid Services defines supervised training as performing nurse aide tasks under direct supervision by a nurse. The student will need to demonstrate knowledge of the required tasks.

Click here to learn about Nurse Aide programs as well as other entry to nursing and health care programs in Kentucky.

SRNA training requirements are found in Kentucky Administrative Regulation 907 KAR 1:450. Federal mandates are incorporated by reference.

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Examination Requirements

Prospective SRNAs must pass the state’s Competency Evaluation Program (CEP). There is just one approved testing vendor, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System ( Students may complete approved programs outside of the community and technical college system, but will go through the system for testing.

There are two components to the test. The skills demonstration includes five randomly chosen nurse aide duties. Examples include measuring and recording vital signs, providing nail care, and positioning and aligning bed-ridden residents in varying ways. Each skill is comprised of a series of steps. Test takers must correctly perform all steps that are listed as critical. They must perform each of the skills with at least 70% accuracy. Prospective test takers can find the skills that they may be asked to perform in the study guide, along with a list of the expected steps for each. Steps that are considered critical are marked with asterisks.

The written test is multiple choice. Test takers must again achieve 70%. Individuals have the option of substituting an oral test for the written one.

Test takers can select their preferred location; students are not under obligation to test at the site where they received their training. Nursing students, and individuals who can document acceptable nursing education, are directed to contact a testing coordinator; they can consult the study guide for contact information for testing coordinators. KCTCS has also provided a list ( Testing coordinators represent community colleges from around the state.

Candidates who fail one or both of the required assessments will have retake opportunities. However, only three attempts can be authorized. The timeframe will depend on individual circumstances. A nurse aide who is employed at a nursing facility while in the process of meeting training requirements has a limited time period. All requirements must be met within four months. The timeframe is longer for nursing students and for individuals who complete approved training programs but are not currently employed. They have one year from the completion of training.

Students will receive copies of the training guide from their instructors. Test takers are cautioned to make sure that they have the most current version. The study guide can also be downloaded from KCTCS (

The study guide also includes testing policies. Test takers will need to bring appropriate identification and arrive at the testing site on-time.

The Application Process

Kentucky nurse aides are not licensed, but are added to the registry after all requirements have been met. Examination represents a last step for in-state candidates. Successful candidates can expect to appear on the registry within 30 days. They will receive test results; registry status can be verified online.

Out-of-State CNAs

Nurse aides may be granted reciprocity based on active status in any state. The Kentucky Nurse Aide Registry will need to verify that the nurse aide is not only in good standing but has recent work experience within the field; status information will be provided by the agency that maintains the out-of-state registry (

Reciprocity applicants will need to provide copies of their driver’s licenses, social security cards, and certification. The Registry requests a registration or certification number as well as the name of the state of transfer (

Out-of-state CNAs are directed to call the Nurse Aide Registry at (888) 530-1919 if they need assistance.

Additional Information

Nurse aide training information is available from the Department of Medicaid Services (

The Nurse Aide Registry is found on the Board of Nursing website; the Board has prepared a list of frequently asked questions for nurse aides ( The Board of Nursing can be reached by telephone at (502) 429-3300 or (888) 530-1919.

Information about the testing program can be found on the Kentucky Community and Technical College System website ( Contact information for individual testing coordinators is also available through KCTCS.

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