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Certified Nursing Assistant Requirements in Rhode Island

Rhode Island nursing assistants are licensed by the Rhode Island Department of Health. They must pursue training and pass competency evaluations. They are also required to have criminal background checks.

Select a Rhode Island Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Topic:

Training and Examination Eligibility

Nursing assistant programs must be approved to offer training. Rhode Island-approved programs are at least 100 hours and include at least 20 hours of practical training. They cover the curriculum described in Department of Health (DOH) rules and regulations (http://sos.ri.gov/documents/archives/regdocs/released/pdf/DOH/7060.pdf). Each utilizes a registered nurse as program coordinator. The Department of Health has provided a list of approved programs (http://www.health.ri.gov/find/cnatraining/). There are currently 44 options.

Click Here to learn about Nursing Assistant programs as well as other entry to nursing and health care programs in Rhode Island.

Nursing education is an alternate path to licensure. Current nursing students are also eligible to take the nursing assistant competency evaluation; they must document completion of at least two clinical courses before they can be approved to test. Individuals licensed as LPNs or RNs can receive nursing assistant credentials without testing.

The Examination Process

Prospective CNAs must complete knowledge and skills evaluations. Rhode Island utilizes the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP). Candidates take two evaluations the same day. Licensure depends on achieving a passing score on both.

The skills evaluation involves carrying out nursing assistant duties in a simulated environment. It includes hand hygiene and four additional skills which are randomly selected. All test takers are given at least one task that involves taking and recording a measurement. The measurement task will vary from administration to administration.

The knowledge test is multiple choice and may be taken in written or oral format. Candidates who opt for the oral examination should be aware that, while the assessment is primarily audio, one section includes reading comprehension questions.

Examinations are administered by Pearson VUE in cooperation with the Community College of Rhode Island. They are held at several campuses; candidates can select their preferred site on the application form. A candidate handbook is also available on the ‘Rhode Island Nurse Aides’ page of the Pearson VUE website (http://www.pearsonvue.com/ri/nurseaides). This provides details about the skills and concepts that are tested as well as the examination process.

Candidates will need to pass the examination within a year of the time that they completed training. The Department of Health will allow test takers to make no more than three attempts without retraining. A 'no-show' is counted as a failure.

Rescheduling is handled by the Community College of Rhode Island. Policies are outlined in the candidate handbook. The Community College of Rhode Island can be reached at (401) 333-7077.

Test takers generally receive their results on-site a short time after they test. Those who do not pass will receive re-examination information. They will need to submit the failing score report as well as a copy of the training certificate when requesting re-examination.

The full examination costs $99. It costs $69 to retake the skills assessment and $30 to retake the written or oral assessment. Individuals who are employed as nursing assistants can expect to have these fees covered.

The Application Process

License application forms can be found on the site of the Department of Health (http://www.health.ri.gov/licenses/detail.php?id=232). In-state candidates submit their forms before completing examination requirements; at this stage, they may be issued nonrenewable 120-day temporary licenses. Nursing assistant students can expect their programs to offer assistance in completing the application and submitting it to the Department of Health. Applicants who have questions about the application process, or about their own status, are invited to call the licensing agency.

Eligibility documentation will be required. A student who completed nursing assistant training will provide the signature of the training coordinator. An LPN or RN student can provide official transcripts; a dean signature can also be accepted. A licensed nurse is to provide a copy of the current license.

Candidates are required to have criminal background checks through the Rhode Island Attorney General’s Office. This step is to be done before application. However, the Department of Health cannot accept background checks that were dated four or more months in the past. A candidate who has a criminal history must provide detailed documentation.

The Department of Health will require a $35 application fee and a recent passport-style photograph; the latter is to be attached to the application with clear tape. The application must be notarized. It is to be sent to the Department of Health in Providence.

License status can be verified online. Candidates can also expect written notification.

Out-of-State Nursing Assistants

Out-of-state CNAs must submit verification forms to all states where they have held licensure. The verification form asks the out-of-state registry to confirm that the nursing assistant had training that met state and federal requirements.

Out-of-state CNAs can be endorsed on the basis of active credentialing and at least one of the following: recent work experience or training at the level required of Rhode Island examination candidates. The Department of Health will accept documentation of having completed a 100 hour program or documentation of having worked full-time for at least three months in the prior year. There is an employment verification form in the application packet. Training can be documented through a training certificate or a letter on letterhead; training documentation must include the number of written hours and the number of clinical training hours.

Adjunct Medication Aide Licensing

Licensed nursing assistant can pursue additional training in medication administration and earn a Medication Aide credential.

Additional Information

Nursing assistant licensing information is available on the site of the Rhode Island Department of Health (http://www.health.ri.gov/licenses/detail.php?id=232). Regulations can be downloaded from the DOH website (http://www.health.ri.gov/regulations/?parm=Nursing%20Assistant). The licensing agency can be reached by telephone at (401) 222-5888.

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