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Certified Nurse Assistant Requirements in Montana

Montana’s Certified Nurse Assistants are credentialed by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services (DPHHS). In order to be certified, nurse aides must pass a state competency evaluation and successfully perform all expected nurse aide duties in a training or employment capacity.

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Training and Examination Eligibility

In most cases, nurse aides are expected to complete approved CNA programs. Approved programs are at least 75 hours. Time spent orientating the aide to the facility is not counted toward this total. The trainee can expect 45 to 50 classroom hours and 25 to 30 clinical hours (http://dphhs.mt.gov/Portals/85/qad/documents/CertificationBureau/cb-stateplan.pdf). A list of approved programs is found on the DPHHS website. It is organized by city.

Click Here to learn about Nurse Assistant programs as well as additional entry to nursing and health care programs in Montana.

Trainees are expected to complete all required nurse aide skills before receiving approval to take the state competency evaluation. Particular skills may be waived because of disability, for example, hearing loss. However, the nurse aide will not be allowed to perform any of these waived skills in an employment context.

Montana will allow a candidate to challenge the state examination one time without completing state-approved training. If the examination is failed, the individual will need to enroll in an approved program. (Individuals who complete approved programs are allowed up to three attempts at the examination.)

Nurse aides who successfully challenge the examination will require additional evaluation from a licensed nurse at their employing agency. The nurse will need to evaluate the aide on all skills that are included in the state curriculum. A list of required skills is found on the DPHHS website.

The Examination Process

Nurse aides must pass competency evaluations that include knowledge and skills examinations. Montana's approved vendor is Headmaster.

The skills test includes hand washing and five other randomly selected tasks. In order to pass the skills test, candidates will need 80% on each skill; any step denoted as a key step must be performed correctly.

The knowledge examination includes 72 multiple choice questions. In most cases, it is administered in written format. The written examination may be administered in pencil and paper or computer delivered format, depending on test site. There is an oral version of the examination, which is only available at sites that use computerized testing. Billings, Cut Bank, Kalispell, and Missoula are currently listed as using computer-delivery.

The minimum score on the knowledge exam is currently 75%. The 2014 Montana Nursing Assistant Candidate Handbook includes test resources such as a content outline and key vocabulary (http://www.hdmaster.com/testing/cnatesting/montana/mtformpages/forms/MTCandidateHandbook.pdf). Test takers should make sure they have the most current handbook.

A student who completed an approved program will need to pass the examination within six months of completion.

It costs $77 to take or retake the skills examination. The written knowledge examination costs $20 while the oral knowledge examination costs $31.

The candidate will be sent instructions for arranging an examination. After receiving authorization and directions from Headmaster, the aide will need to contact a Nurse Evaluator. The candidate will need to test within two weeks.

A candidate who needs to reschedule must contact the tester at least one business day in advance of the scheduled test.

Candidates who have physical restrictions such as crutches will not be allowed to test unless they have pre-arranged disability modifications. In certain circumstances, a free retest will be granted.

Test takers will need to bring appropriate identification to the testing site. Late arrival or failure to supply appropriate identification can result in being marked as a ‘no-show’.

Test results are generally available three to five business days after testing. Candidates who fail can expect to receive more detailed information in the mail. Re-examination candidates will need to submit retest request forms.

The Application Process

Examination candidates can find applications on the ‘Montana CN Testing and Certification’ page of the Headmaster website (http://www.hdmaster.com/testing/cnatesting/montana/MT_CNA_Home.htm). The candidate will include a training certificate or have the course instructor fill out an affidavit.

Candidates will send their applications directly to Headmaster unless the facility is paying for examination. In cases where the facility is responsible for fee payment, the forms will be given to an on-site representative. Self-pay candidates will need to include a separate form for payment. This can also be downloaded from Headmaster.

Nursing students who seek CNA registry status will find application materials on the DPHHS website (http://dphhs.mt.gov/qad/Certification/CNAHHA.aspx).

Endorsement into Montana

CNAs can be endorsed into Montana on the basis of certification in any state. An out-of-state nursing assistant will need to submit the application form found on the DPHHS website (http://dphhs.mt.gov/qad/Certification/CNAHHA.aspx). The Nurse Aide Registry will also require a card or letter from each state of certification. No fees are due with the application. Out-of-state CNAs are advised to check their status online ten days after application and to contact the credentialing agency if they have not been added to the registry after fifteen days.

An out-of-state CNA may work in Montana for up to 30 days pending certification, provided that the employee has contacted the out-of-state registry to verify that the credential is current and in good standing. Application instructions are found in the interstate endorsement packet. Out-of-state CNAs are invited to call the Nurse Aide Registry if they need assistance with the application process.

Additional Information

The Montana Nurse Aide Registry (http://dphhs.mt.gov/qad/Certification/CNAHHA.aspx) can be reached by email at ‘cna at mt.gov’ or by telephone at (406) 444-4980. Office hours are 8:00 to 5:00.

Headmaster LLP can be reached by email at ‘hdmaster at hdmaster.com’ or by telephone at (800) 393-8664. Office hours are 8:00 to 6:00.

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