Certified Nursing Assistant Requirements in Minnesota

Minnesota’s Nursing Assistants (or ‘NAs’) are under the jurisdiction of the Minnesota Department of Health. They are certified on the basis of examination.

Minnesota healthcare workers have the option of pursuing dual credentialing as Nurse Aides and Home Health Aides. Those who choose this route will have slightly different examination requirements.

Select a Minnesota Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Topic:

Training Options

Nurse aides have several training options. One option is to complete an approved nursing assistant program. Approved Minnesota programs may follow either of two curriculums: the American Red Cross curriculum or the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities curriculum (http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/fpc/profinfo/narinfo/aboutnar.html). Prospective students may search for approved program on the site of the Minnesota Department of Health (http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/fpc/directory/natrainingsites.cfm).

Candidates can also enroll in combined nurse aide/ home health aide (NA/HHA) programs.

Candidates are also permitted to challenge the nurse aide examination. The testing agency, Pearson Vue, notes that one may choose to “test out” under a number of circumstances. The candidate may be a student nurse or graduate nurse. He or she may have had training in a foreign country.

Click here to see Nursing Assistant and other entry to nursing and health care programs in Minnesota.

It is left up to the candidate to decide if an approved program is necessary. However, the DOH notes that individuals who enroll in approved programs have four months of employment eligibility at qualifying agencies while they fulfill their certification obligations. Individuals who challenge the examination are not granted this eligibility period; they must be on the registry.

Furthermore, a person can only test out of the nursing assistant examination. NA/ HHA requirements are more stringent.

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Examination Requirements

Minnesota uses the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP). Examinations are administered by Pearson VUE.

Individuals who are pursuing only CNA credentialing will take the full NNAAP assessment. This includes the NNAAP skills and knowledge evaluations. The skills evaluation will involve carrying out five typical nurse aide duties; at least one will require the candidate to take measurements and record them. The knowledge examination is multiple choice. It can be taken as a written or oral exam. The oral exam is administered via cassette tape. Both options are described in the candidate handbook. The handbook includes additional resources such as a skills listing and content outline. It is available on the Minnesota Nurse Aides and Home Health Aides page of the Pearson VUE website (http://www.asisvcs.com/indhome.asp?CPCat=0624NURSE).

The NNAAP is administered at a number of Minnesota testing sites. Test takers can find a listing on the DOH site (http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/fpc/directory/natrainingsites.cfm). The DOH also posts information about examination pass rates by program (http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/fpc/profinfo/narinfo/nartestdata.html).

Candidates (or their employers) will pay two sets of testing fees. One is due to Pearson. Pearson currently charges $64 to take the full examination, $22 to retake the skills evaluation, and $42 to retake the written or oral evaluation. The other fee is due to the individual testing site and may vary.

Registration procedures also vary from site to site. Some Minnesota sites allow candidates to register on the day of the test. Others require advance registration. Test takers will need to show up with required materials, including two forms of ID. They will need proof of program completion (if applicable). The full list of what to bring is found in the candidate handbook.

In most cases, test takers will receive their NNAAP score reports the day of the examination. They are allowed up to three examination attempts without retraining. Those who are not currently working in ‘board care’ homes or nursing homes can take up to two years to meet examination requirements. If the candidate completed a nursing assistant program, the eligibility period is based on program completion date. If the candidate did not complete an approved program, the eligibility period is based on the date the examination was first attempted. If a candidate decides to enroll in an approved program, the eligibility period will begin anew.

Candidates who complete combined programs will need to complete a combined NA/HHA assessment program. The NA/HHA also includes a skills test and a written (or oral) test. The skills test is the same as the one used in the NNAAP. The multiple choice exam, however, is different.

CNAs who are certified on the basis of having 1) completed state-approved programs and 2) passed the NNAAP assessment will need to complete only the written portion of the NA/ HHA if they later complete home health aide training.

The Application Process

For examination candidates, the application process and examination process are entwined. The last step is examination. A test taker who is successful on both parts of the evaluation will receive a certificate from Pearson VUE. It will be mailed approximately two weeks after testing.

Employers will call the registry to verify that the NA is indeed registered and that there have been no findings of patient maltreatment.

Out-of-State CNAs

Nursing assistants who are in good standing in other states can transfer their certification to Minnesota. They will need to document some work experience during the preceding 24 month period. Eight hours will suffice. However, orientation or training cannot be credited.

Endorsement applications can be found on the Department of Health website (http://www.health.state.mn.us/divs/fpc/profinfo/narinfo/formsnar.html). The application packet includes an interstate verification form. CNAs will fill out the top section of the form and attach copies of their social security cards and out-of-state certificates. In most cases, the CNA will send the form to the current state of certification. CNAs coming from certain states, however, will instead send the form to the Minnesota registry. These states are identified in the application packet. The application packet also includes a list of out-of-state registries and their contact information.

The endorsement packet also includes a form that is to be sent to the out-of-state employer. The applicant is to attach a pay stub or W-2 before sending the form.

The Minnesota registry does not charge a processing fee. Endorsement applicants who need help filling out forms can call the Nursing Assistant Registry between 9:00 and 3:00.

The nursing assistant can expect to receive written communication after all required materials have been received and verified.

An out-of-state aide who is not eligible for reciprocity has the option of challenging the examination.

Additional Information

The Nursing Assistant Registry can be reached at 651-215-8705, or (within Minnesota) toll-free at 1-800-397-6124.

Pearson VUE can be reached toll-free at 1-800-274-0504.

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