Certified Nurse Aide Requirements in North Carolina

North Carolina recognizes nurse aides at multiple levels of practice. Nurse Aide I is the basic credential and is required for nursing home duties. It is awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and is the foundation for practice at higher levels.

The Geriatric Nurse Aide certification is also awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services . It is not mandatory for employment in a nursing home setting. The Department notes that it was developed to meet needs identified in the North Carolina Institute of Medicine (IOM) Long-Term Care Task Force.

The Nurse Aide II credential is awarded by the North Carolina Board of Nursing under unlicensed assistive personnel. The Board of Nursing has provided a list of duties at NA I and NA II level as well.

Select a North Carolina Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Topic:

Nurse Aide I Requirements

North Carolina nurse aides take the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam. This is a requirement for initial registry placement at the Nursing Assistant I level.

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

The NNAAP examination includes a clinical skills evaluation as well as a knowledge evaluation. Test takers may demonstrate eligibility through any of several pathways. Eligibility route one requires a candidate to complete a North Carolina-approved nursing assistant training program. A list of state-approved programs is available on the DHHS website (http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dhsr/hcpr/guide.html).

Nursing students are also eligible to test as NAs. In some cases, a person may be based on examination alone. Individuals who complete out-of-state nurse aide programs, Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) or other healthcare programs are allowed to challenge the examination. The testing vendor, Pearson VUE, notes that a person can challenge even if they have no nurse aide training.

Whatever eligibility route candidates opt for, they can make no more than two attempts over a two year period (http://www.ncbon.com/dcp/i/nursing-education-unlicensed-assistive-personnel-na-ii-competency-assessment-requirements). Students who complete North Carolina-approved nursing assistant programs or refresher courses have two years from program completion. Nursing students have two years from the date they complete their qualifying coursework. Other test takers have two years from the time they make the first attempt.

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Nurse Aide I Examination Process

The examination process and application process are interconnected. Candidates who pass both evaluations are generally added to the registry after two to five business days.

Some candidates take the NNAAP examination at their facility. Others register to test at regional testing sites. A list of test sites and upcoming test dates is available on the ‘North Carolina Nurse Aides’ page of the Pearson site http://www.pearsonvue.com/nc/nurseaides. Candidates will initially take the knowledge and skills examination on the same day.

Applicants may schedule examinations online through the Pearson site. They must know which version of the knowledge test they want to take: written or oral. The written test is available in English. The oral test is available in English and Spanish.

Candidates who need to reschedule are asked to do so at least nine calendar days in advance. Those who do not do so generally forfeit their fees. In extreme circumstances, an absence can be excused.

Results are generally available on-site shortly after the assessment has been completed.

Test takers pay $101 to take the full assessment. Skills evaluation retakes cost $77. Oral or written examination retakes cost $24.

Pearson can be reached at (888) 723-6773.

Adjunct Certifications: Geriatric Aides and Medication Aides

Geriatric aide training extends nurse aide training. It includes concepts such as dementia and death and dying as well as stress management and self-care. Individuals must first earn nurse aide status. They must also complete the North Carolina geriatric aide curriculum. DHHS has provided a list of approved programs (https://info.ncdhhs.gov/dhsr/hcpr/pdf/gatprograms.pdf). Nurse aides may also contact their local community college to see if the program is offered.

The medication aide credential can qualify an aide for additional responsibilities in a nursing home setting. Medication aides must also begin by earning a basic nurse aide credential. They must complete a 24 hour medication aide course approved by the North Carolina Board of Nursing. They then take an examination. It is also administered by Pearson VUE (http://www.pearsonvue.com/nc/medaides/).

Employers are responsible for verifying status and performing a clinical skills evaluation. A registered nurse will validate that the aide has the skills to perform the medication tasks that will be required in the particular facility. The Department of Health and Human Services notes that medication aide registry status does not qualify an individual to administer medications in all settings. Aides who wish to take on this role in an adult care home must seek licensure through the Adult Care Licensure Section https://info.ncdhhs.gov/dhsr/acls/medtech.html This requires examination.

Nurse Aide II Requirements

A Nurse Aide I may qualify for the Nurse Aide II credential by completing an approved program, taking qualifying nursing coursework, or demonstrating equivalent military training (http://www.ncbon.com/dcp/i/licensurelisting-nurse-aide-ii-na-ii-faq–na-ii-registry). The Board of Nursing has provided a list of approved programs (http://www.ncbon.com/dcp/i/nursing-education-unlicensed-assistive-personnel-approved-na-ii-programs).

Air force personnel may document completion of an Air Force Medical Service Technician Program (http://www.ncbon.com/dcp/i/licensurelisting-nurse-aide-ii-na-ii-na-ii-listing-requirements). Army personnel may document completion of a 68W10 – Health Care Specialist program. Navy personnel may document Basic Corpsman class “A” and a rank of at least Third Class. The Board of Nursing notes that individual nursing schools determine the stage of the curriculum that is comparable to NA II.

The Nurse Aide II registry charges $24 for initial listing and renewal. An NA II must maintain NA I status in order to renew NA II.


The Medication Aide credential is not awarded on the basis of reciprocity. Nurse aides transferring to North Carolina must

Additional Information

Information about nurse aide credentialing can be found on the site of the North Carolina Health Care Registry (https://www.ncnar.org/index1.jsp).

NA II Applicants with questions can find contact information on the Board of Nursing website.(http://www.ncbon.com/dcp/i/nursing-education-unlicensed-assistive-personnel-na-ii-competency-assessment-requirements)

North Carolina Geriatric Aide Registry (919) 855-3969

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