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Certified Nurse Aide Requirements in New Mexico

New Mexico’s Certified Nurse Aides are under the jurisdiction of the New Mexico Department of Health. They are certified on the basis of training and examination. In order to remain active on the New Mexico Nurse Aide registry, CNAs must work in the field. A nurse aide who is in good standing on the registry can become certified again after allowing certification to expire, but will need to pass the examination again. The Department of Health contracts with Prometric to administer examinations and maintain the nurse aide registry.

Current out-of-state CNAs may be certified by reciprocity.

Select a New Mexico Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Topic:

Training and Examination Eligibility

The most direct route to certification is to complete an in-state CNA training program. New Mexico state-approved CNA programs are at least 75 hours. This is also the minimum requirement under federal standards.

There are several alternative routes for examination eligibility. Individuals who have completed nurse aide-related military-based training within the previous 24 months can test as CNAs. New Mexico will also accept basic nursing coursework and clinicals that were completed as part of an RN or LPN program. Again, the training must be recent (within the prior 24 months).

Click Here to learn about Nurse Aide programs as well as other entry to nursing and health care programs in New Mexico.

Nursing graduates who have completed New Mexico programs but are not yet licensed are eligible as are out-of-state and international nurses and nurse aides. RNs, LPNs, and CNAs are all examination-eligible.

Military personnel, graduate nurses, and out-of-state and international nurses must meet the testing requirement within six months of approval.

Examination Requirements

New Mexico CNAs must take the Nurse Aide Competency Examination. There are two components to the examination. One assesses knowledge and is taken via computer. The other involves actually carrying out nursing aide duties in a simulated environment.

The skills test includes five skills. All candidates are evaluated on hand washing and on indirect care behaviors. The other three skills are randomly selected. On test day, the candidate is also expected to play the part of a resident for another individual who is testing. Resident actors are used to evaluate skills such as taking pulse, turning a person in bed, caring for their fingernails, and washing a foot and applying lotion.

Candidates can opt for either a written or oral computer-delivered test. The oral test is available in both English and Spanish. The written test is available only in English. The oral test includes two sections. The longer section includes the same content as the written examination but the candidate can hear the questions as well as see them; the test taker is permitted to listen to questions as many times as necessary provided the total time allowed for the evaluation is not exceeded. The shorter section includes reading comprehension. The purpose is to make sure that the aide has the minimum level of reading ability necessary to work in a nursing home. It is necessary to pass both portions of the oral test. Test takers who want the oral test must note this at the time of application. They will not be allowed to make the request on test day.

The test taker will initially pay either $100 for the skills test/ written test combination or $110 for the skills test/ oral test combination. A 5% sales tax will be added.

Test takers must show up at the testing site with government-issued photo IDs. They will need one additional ID, such as a social security card or credit card. Candidates typically receive their score reports onsite. A detailed description of testing policies is found in the candidate bulletin; this can be downloaded from the 'New Mexico Nurse Aide Exam' page of the Prometric site (https://www.prometric.com/en-us/clients/Nurseaide/Pages/NM.aspx). The bulletin also includes a content outline.

There is a two-year eligibility window for new trainees. A candidate can make no more than three attempts at either evaluation. The candidate can, however, enroll in another state-approved program and begin the process again.

A candidate who passes either the clinical skills test or knowledge test will not need to retake that test on a subsequent attempt. However, a candidate who fails a knowledge test given in oral format will need to take the reading comprehension portion each time – even if it was completed successfully on a previous attempt.

Fees are due each time a candidate tests. It currently costs $63 to retake the skills evaluation. It costs $37 to retake the written evaluation. It costs $47 to retake the oral evaluation in either English or Spanish.

Many candidates who are currently employed will have their training and testing fees paid by the state. However, Prometric notes that the state does not pay rescheduling fees. A candidate who needs to reschedule an examination and fails to do so at least five business days in advance will owe additional fees.

The Application Process

Candidates who have recently completed New Mexico-approved nurse aide programs will apply directly to Prometric. They will need to have a program director fill out a portion of the application.

Candidates who are applying under other eligibility routes must receive authorization from the Department of Health before applying to Prometric for examination. They are directed to call the DOH at 505-476-9025. Once they have received their Authorization to Test (ATT) letter, they can apply to Prometric. The letter must be included with the examination request.

Examination application forms are available on the Prometric site (https://www.prometric.com/en-us/clients/Nurseaide/Pages/NM.aspx). It will not be necessary to submit a separate application for certification or registry placement. An examinee who successful completes both parts of the examination can expect to receive a certificate and be placed on the registry within a week. Employers are required to verify registry status; this can be done online.

Nurse Aides with Lapsed Certification

CNAs with certification that expired no more than 24 months in the past can take the examination without pursuing additional training. If registry is in New Mexico, the aide may submit an examination application directly to Prometric. If it is in another state, the aide will need to request authorization from the New Mexico Department of Health.

Aides with New Mexico certification that expired more than 24 months in the past can also be considered for examination-only certification. They will, however, need to demonstrate that they have recent experience in a nursing-related role. They must be authorized by the Department of Health.

Former nurse aides approved for exam-only certification must complete testing requirements within six months.

Additional Information

The New Mexico DOH Health Facility Licensing and Certification Bureau can be found on the web at http://nmhealth.org/about/dhi/hflc/. However, some information may not be available on the website. The New Mexico Certified Nurse Aide Registry Coordinator can be reached at 505-476-9040.

Prometric can be reached by telephone at 866-391-1945 at or by email at ‘NMCNA@prometric.com’.

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