Certified Nursing Assistant Requirements in South Carolina

South Carolina nursing assistants are under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Human Services. They must complete training programs and pass skills and knowledge assessments. South Carolina contracts with Pearson to administer assessments and maintain the registry.

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

Training Requirements and Examination Eligibility

Prospective CNAs must complete state-approved training program that meet the requirements of South Carolina code. South Carolina requires 100 hours of training, somewhat above the minimum national standard. The surest route is to complete a training program that has been expressly approved to train South Carolina CNAs. Candidates may also test on the basis of recent completion of programs approved for certification in other states. A candidate will need to document the total number of hours and the number of clinical hours.

Pearson has provided a list of approved South Carolina programs (http://www.pearsonvue.com/sc/nurseaides). Prospective students can also see the programs’ recent pass rates on qualifying examinations.

Click here to learn about Nursing Assistant programs as well as other entry to nursing and health care programs in South Carolina.

There are several alternative training pathways. LPN and RN students may be found eligible if they earned grades of ‘C’ or higher in fundamentals of nursing. They must apply within two years of the time that they completed the qualifying coursework unless they are currently enrolled in nursing school.

Individuals will also be considered on the basis of military-based training. Eligibility is determined on a case by case basis.

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The Examination Process

South Carolina is among the 25 states that utilize the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program, or NNAAP. In South Carolina, the NNAAP is administered jointly by Pearson VUE and the NACES Plus Foundation.

The examination program includes two assessments, both of which must be passed. One is a multiple choice knowledge examination. Candidates can opt for a written or oral version. The oral assessment is available in both English and Spanish.

The skills examination requires the candidate to carry out a sampling of nursing assistant skills. All test takers are evaluated on hand hygiene. All are required to carry out a measurement task (for example, measuring blood pressure or weight). The other tasks are randomly selected. Candidates can find a skill listing in the candidate handbook. They will also find a Spanish language skill list on the South Carolina Nurse Aides page of the Pearson Vue website (http://www.pearsonvue.com/sc/nurseaides).

Some candidates will test in-facility. Others will test at regional sites. They will select their preferred site at the time of application. They will also indicate if they are willing to travel to take the test sooner and if so, how far they can go.

A candidate should receive a yellow confirmation card within ten days of submitting the application. A candidate who does not get the authorization in this timeframe should call NACES.

Rescheduling, if necessary, should be done at least five business days in advance. Otherwise, additional fees will be incurred. Absences can be excused in certain circumstances – e.g. illness, death in the family, weather emergency.

Test takers will receive their score reports shortly after testing. A candidate who fails either assessment will receive information about scheduling a retake. Up to three examination attempts will be allowed. A candidate who has still not passed will need to retrain to restore eligibility.

The Application Process

A first time nurse aide will apply simultaneously for examination and registry placement. Applications can be downloaded from the Pearson Vue website (http://www.pearsonvue.com/sc/nurseaides/).

Applicants must supply eligibility documentation. Those who completed South Carolina-approved programs will have their program fill out one section of the application. Those who completed equivalent programs in other states will include either a certificate or diploma or a letter on official letterhead; documentation must show the number of clinical hours as well as the number of classroom hours.

Student nurses, graduate nurses, and military personnel have an additional step. They are to fax documentation to before applying. Acceptable documentation may include a school or military education transcript or a letter from a nursing advisor. The cover letter will need to be addressed to “Program Manager of Nurse Aide Program” and will need to include the applicant’s own name and contact information. Directions are found in the Pearson candidate bulletin. Candidates applying on the basis of alternate training are to confirm eligibility before applying to Pearson (or sending fees). They may email ‘scnar at scdhhs.gov’.

Examination fees must be included. The full examination costs $101. The skills evaluation retest costs $71. The oral or written retest costs $31.

The application includes screening questions. When a candidate answers “yes” to either of the questions, the application is forwarded to the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services for eligibility screening.

Application materials are to be sent to the NACES Plus Foundation. They should arrive together in one envelope.


Out-of-state CNAs can be credentialed by reciprocity if they meet training and experience requirements. They will need to verify completion of a 100 hour program; this can be verified through a copy of a transcript, certificate or diploma or a notarized letter from the school. Unless the CNA was placed on the registry in the prior two years, he or she will need to document work experience. Eight hours paid working as a CNA will suffice. This can be documented through a pay stub or W-2.

Reciprocity applications are available on the Pearson VUE website.

CNAs with Lapsed Certificates

CNAs can test without retraining provided that their certification expired within the most recent 24 month period and they completed a 100 hour training program in the past. Both in-state and out-of-state CNAs will be allowed to test to become active on the registry.

Additional Information

The Department of Health and Human Services can be reached by email at [email protected] or by telephone at (803) 898-2590.

NACES Plus Foundation can be reached at (800) 273-3517.

Pearson VUE can be reached at (800) 475-8290.

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