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State Tested Nurse Aide Requirements in Ohio

Ohio's State Tested Nurse Aides (STNAs) are under the jurisdiction of the Ohio Department of Health. Credentialing is based on successful competency evaluation. Nurse aides must meet state-mandated training requirements in order to be admitted to the examination. In certain instances, experience may substitute for formal training.

Select an Ohio State Tested Nurse Aide (STNA) Topic:

Training and Examination Requirements

Traditional Pathway: The most direct route to certification is to complete a nurse aide training program that is specifically approved by the Ohio Department of Health. Ohio nurse aide programs follow a state curriculum ( Programs are at least 75 hours; the prospective STNA may begin interacting with residents after the first 16 hours.

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

Nurse aides who allow status to lapse by not working in the field for two years are required to retrain and retest. Individuals who need help locating a nurse aide program may call the Departments at (614) 752–8285.

Alternate Pathways: There are two alternate pathways to examination eligibility. Individuals who have at least 12 months of recent experience as hospital orderlies or aides are eligible to test; testing authorization can be granted to those who have had had one year of full-time experience any time in the prior five years.

Nursing students are also eligible to test as STNAs; the registry will accept enrollment in a program approved by the Ohio Board of Nursing or the licensing agency in another state. They will need to demonstrate that their basic nursing coursework has included personal care, infection control, and safety and emergency procedures.

The Examination Process

The Ohio nurse aide competency evaluation is administered by Headmaster/ Diversified Technologies ( There are two tests: knowledge and skills.

The knowledge test is multiple choice and covers the following topics:

  • Safety
  • Communication
  • Infection control
  • Resident rights
  • Personal care
  • Basic nursing skills
  • Mental health
  • Data collection
  • Role and responsibility
  • The care impaired
  • Disease process
  • Older adult growth

The knowledge test may be administered as a written test using pencil and paper or computer-delivered (WebETest) format. It is also available in oral format. Candidates who want the oral test will need to request it at the time of application. Candidates should be aware that the oral test includes some reading comprehension questions; this is to ensure that candidates have the minimum level of competence required by the Ohio Department of Health.

The skills test consists of five nursing aide skills that must be completed in a 35 minute period. Tasks are drawn from the 25 skills listed in the candidate handbook. Candidates must perform all key steps and score at least 80% overall on each skill.

Fees are to be submitted with the application. It costs $76 to take the skills examination. The written examination is $24; the oral examination, $34. Candidates may select their first and second choice testing from among the Ohio test sites.

Candidates are advised to check the website to see if there are any changes to testing protocol prior to testing. On test day, they must show up at the test site in clinical attire with their state-issued IDs and social security cards.

Test results will be made available online at Headmaster. Candidates who take computer-delivered tests can typically access them within 24 hours while candidates who take pencil and paper tests may need to wait several days. Weekends and holidays can cause additional delay.

Three attempts are allowed. A candidate who passes one of the two required evaluations will need to retake only the one that was failed. A candidate who retakes the skills test will face at least one task that he or she failed in a previous test administration.

The Application Process

Candidates simultaneously apply for examination and registry placement. Eligibility must be documented at the time of examination application. Individuals who completed Ohio-approved nurse aide will need to include copies of their training certificates. Nursing students will need to submit transcripts. Orderlies and hospital aides will need to include letters on company letterhead; the number of hours and the work status (full- or part-time) must be noted.

Individuals who completed nurse aide programs will need to fill out only one side of the examination application. Other candidates will need to complete both; the back is a verification that must be completed by either a nursing instructor or hospital representative. All necessary forms can be downloaded from Headmaster (

Reciprocity for Out-of-State Nurse Aides

Reciprocity can be granted to nurse aides who are current and in good standing in other states. Reciprocity application forms are available on the site of the Ohio Department of Health (

The other state will need to confirm that the individual was placed on the registry in accordance with federal requirements (as described in the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Acts) and that there have not been disqualifying findings such as abusing residents or taking their property.

Additional Information

The Ohio Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation Program can be reached by telephone at (614) 752-8285 or by email at 'NATCEP at'. The Nurse Aide Registry can be reached by email at 'NAR at'.

Headmaster can be reached by telephone at (877) 851-2355 or by email at ‘hdmastereast at’.

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