To become a working CNA, you will need to successfully complete the CNA certification test. Once you have passed the state exam, you are eligible to be listed in the CNA Registry in your state.
The CNA Certification Test
The Certification test was created to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for a CNA to do their job safely as they begin working in a nursing facility. There are two parts of the test; a written exam and a hands-on or practical skills examination. Both portions of the test are taken on the same day. The written test is made up of an average of 75 questions, but the number may vary based on the requirements of the state you live in. In some cases you are eligible to take an oral version of the exam administered in either English or Spanish. While both portions of the test are equally important, the following information describes the practical portion of the exam, known as the skills portion.
In the skills portion of the exam, you will be required to perform five of the skills you learned while training as a CNA. The test will take place in either a medical setting or a classroom designed to resemble the types of places you will likely work. The total exam will last between twenty and thirty minutes in which you will demonstrate mastery of the five skills given to you.
There will be one or more evaluators in the room who will grade your performance. Because the selection of skills is random, based on the twenty four skills which are normally taught in a CNA certification course, it is important that you are ready to demonstrate any and all of those skills. To prepare for the skills portion of your exam, you should practice all twenty four skills and be sure that you understand how, why, and when to perform them. The following is a list of the skills that can appear on the test:
- Hand Washing Procedures
- Application of One Knee-High Elastic Stocking
- Assisting a Patient to Ambulate using Transfer Belt
- Assisting with Use of Bedpan
- Cleaning and Storing Dentures
- Counting and Recording Patient’s Radial Pulse
- Counting and Recording Patient’s Respiration
- Donning and Removing Gown and Gloves
- Dressing a Patient with an Affected (Weak) Arm
- Feeding Patient who is Unable to Feed Self
- Giving a Modified Bed Bath
- Making an Occupied Bed
- Measuring and Recording Blood Pressure
- Measuring and Recording Urinary Output
- Measuring and Recording the Weight of Ambulatory Patient
- Performing Passive Range of Motion Exercises for Knees and Ankles
- Performing Passive Range of Motion Exercises for the Shoulder
- Positioning Patient on their Side
- Providing a Catheter Care for Female Patient
- Providing Fingernail Care
- Providing Food Care
- Providing Mouth Care
- Providing Perineal Care for a Female Patient
- Transferring Patient from Bed to Wheelchair using Transfer Belt
These skills should all be familiar to you. If there are one or more skills that you do not feel comfortable with, you should contact your programs faculty for assistance with understanding and performing these skills. We have included videos and detailed guides on how to perform each of these skills.
Tip: Practice on a friend or relative who can help you by being the patient while you perform the skills.