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Certified Nursing Aide requirments in South Dakota

South Dakota's Certified Nursing Aides are under the jurisdiction of the Board of Nursing and the Department of Health. CNAs are certified on the basis of training and examination.

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

Training and Examination Eligibility

The prospective CNA must complete a state-approved program. Approved CNA programs are at least 75 hours long. The South Dakota Board of Nursing has provided a list of approved programs, grouped by program type (http://doh.sd.gov/Boards/Nursing/CNA-Training.aspx). Some programs are based in nursing homes; the entire program, including theory and instruction, may take place in this setting. Others carry out the didactic part of the program in locations such as schools or office settings. Some programs are primarily online. The student will, however, need to complete at least 16 hours of clinical practice.

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

Nursing education may substitute for CNA education. Nursing student may apply for CNA training waivers. They will need to complete fundamentals of nursing coursework with grades of 'C' or higher. A nursing student approved for training waiver will still need to complete the state CNA exam.

Individuals who have achieved LPN or RN licensure may be exempted from both training and examination requirements. If the nurse has any disciplinary history, the Board of Nursing will make an eligibility decision on a case by case basis.

All other healthcare providers (for example, EMTs, respiratory therapists, and medical assistants) must enroll in approved CNA programs in order to earn nurse aide certification. However, they will not necessarily have to complete the entire program. If the instructor evaluates the individual and finds that he or she has already mastered some parts of the curriculum, these may be skipped. The Board of Nursing has provided a PDF resource for individuals with training in other healthcare disciplines (http://doh.sd.gov/boards/nursing/assets/IndividualsEducatedinOtherHealthcareFields.pdf).

Examination Requirements

CNAs must pass competency evaluations. In South Dakota, CNA testing is carried out by Headmaster LLP (http://www.hdmaster.com/testing/cnatesting/sdakota/SD_CNA_Home.htm) under contract with the South Dakota Health Care Association (http://www.sdhca.org/index.php/cna/). Candidates will find resources for the Certified Nurse Aide Test on both websites.

The CNA must complete two separate evaluations. The knowledge evaluation may be administered in written or oral form. The candidate will need to score at least 75%. The candidate handbook includes sample questions and a list of vocabulary.

The skills assessment will include five actual simulated nursing assistant duties. The first task is hand washing. The other four tasks are randomly selected and may change from administration to administration. There are many possible tasks including positioning a resident on their side in bed, taking vital signs, or performing an abdominal thrust; skills are described in the candidate handbook. The candidate must perform all key steps correctly and must score at least a 75% on each task.

Test results will be reported to the facility. A candidate who passes both evaluations will be added to the registry. A candidate who fails one of the required tests will need to retake it.

The candidate or sponsoring agency will pay $89 for the skill test and either $70.50 for a knowledge test or $80.50 for an oral knowledge test.

The Application Process

Traditional applicants submit their applications at the examination level. Headmaster directs candidates to the South Dakota Health Care Association to inquire how to apply for examination. The South Dakota Health Care Association can be reached at (800) 952-3052. (In many cases, however, the application process will be directed by the school or facility.)

Some applicants will need the approval of the Board of Nursing. Nursing students and nurses will find the necessary form on the Board of Nursing website. Both will use the same form. LPN or RN students seeking waivers will need to submit copies of their transcripts. Individuals licensed as LPNs or RNs must provide license number and name of state of licensure. They will provide the license expiration date (either past or future).

Endorsement of Out-of-State CNAs

A CNA who completed another state's training and competency program and who is current on another state's registry may be eligible for endorsement into South Dakota.

Endorsement applications are found on the South Dakota Board of Nursing website (http://doh.sd.gov/Boards/Nursing/NurseAid.aspx). The out-of-state CNA will need to fill out the top portion, then send the form to the original state of certification. The South Dakota Board has provided a link to the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) directory of CNA registries (http://doh.sd.gov/boards/nursing/documents/NurseAideRegistries2014.pdf). The directory includes telephone numbers as well as email addresses. The nurse aide may want to call the out-of-state registry to ask if there is a fee charged for completing the form and mailing it to the South Dakota Board.

Additional Information

The South Dakota Board of Nursing can be reached at 605-642-1388.

Regulations can be accessed on the site of the South Dakota Health Care Association (http://www.sdhca.org/index.php/cna/).

The ‘South Dakota CNA Testing and Certification’ page of the Headmaster website includes contact information for multiple agencies involved in CNA training, testing, and regulation (http://www.hdmaster.com/testing/cnatesting/sdakota/SD_CNA_Home.htm). CNAs and prospective CNAs know which organization to contact to access information or resolve particular issues.

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