A to Z Guide to Understanding CNA State Exam

Are you a CNA student? Have you been studying for your CNA exam and feel like it is near impossible to understand the content? You’re not alone. Many students are having trouble with understanding the material. This blog post will give an overview of what each section means and provide study tips that can help you pass your exam!

What is CNA State Certification Exam?

As a certified nursing assistant, you are one of the most essential employees for taking care of patients and elderly people. Your talent is needed to ensure that everyone in need can be properly cared for. The state CNA exam is where the knowledge and talent of all aspiring CNAs are put to the test.

This is a test to evaluate the knowledge and skills of those who have completed training as certified nursing aides. The National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam assesses how well they can handle tasks such as bathing, taking temperatures or blood pressure readings, changing bed sheets, feeding patients with utensils in their mouths for safety reasons during mealtimes—in other words it tests everything that you would need to know on day one at work after finishing your course!

The exam has two parts, a written test and a skill test. The skills test will evaluate your practical knowledge gained from the clinical sessions and the written test will test what you learned in class. You can also enroll in online CNA training programs or take an online certification exam to get certified, but be aware that this won’t help you on a live patient’s bedside at all!

After passing the certification exam, you will be immediately added to your state’s registry of certified nursing assistants. After that, all it takes is a quick search on Google for jobs in healthcare facilities and interviews!

Requirements for the CNA State Exam

In order to be allowed to appear for these exams, you have to qualify first. The following prerequisites need to be fulfilled before appearing for these exams. They are mentioned below:

  • Age: The minimum age requirement is 18 years, but this can vary from state to state. In most states the cutoff for admission is eighteen and in California students who have completed 16 may be admitted as well.
  • Educational Qualifications: Completion of a high school diploma or General Educational Development (GED) is obligatory. This educational requirement has been compulsory to ensure that all the students are on the same page and can read at an academic level before attending CNA courses.
  • Background Check: To be considered as an eligible candidate, it is necessary to have a clean criminal background. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) conducts these checks by examining the applicant’s records in their databases.
  • Medical Checkup: One of the most important things to do before entering CNA school is a complete physical examination. One such test conducted at these examinations, like TB testing for example, can make sure that you’re healthy and not carrying any dreadful or contagious diseases which may put other patients in danger as well.
  • Completion of the CNA Training: In order to be eligible for state certification, one must complete a state approved 75-120 hours of CNA training program. The next step is to obtain a license from the State Board of Nursing or Registry.

Examination Fees

Students will have to pay the required examination fees before appearing for the exam. The fees may vary from one state to another, but typically they range between $50 and $190 USD depending on what state you live in. The fees of some states for the CNA certification exam are as follows:

CNA Examination Fees
Florida USD 160
Alaska USD 50
Connecticut USD 110
Illinois USD 60
Georgia USD 108

CNA State Exam Pattern

The Certified Nursing Assistant exam has two parts – the theoretical and clinical. The number of questions on each might vary, but all across America, you will have to pass both!

  • Theoretical Exam: The theoretical exam includes 60-70 questions that are traditionally found in a multiple choice format, based on the knowledge gained during lectures. Completing this final test will show how well a candidate understands their material and can answer tough, obscure questions thrown at them.
  • Clinical Skill Exam: During the practical session, you will be given a set of 25 questions from which you have to demonstrate any 5 skills in front of the examiner. This test is designed to gauge a candidate’s practical skill.

What will happen if the Candidate fails in a certified nurse aide Exam?

If the candidate fails in the exam for the first time, then they will be provided 2 more attempts to appear for the exam. But, if not cleared in the third attempt, then they have to go through the full training session once again.

How Does the Candidate Get Informed about the Examination?

The candidates are intimated beforehand about the date and venue of the exam through email, therefore the candidate must provide the correct contact details.

Formalities for License After the Exam

Before the certification, candidate need to do some formalities such as

  • The applicant has to fill a state application form at the Nursing Aide Registry licensing authority. The candidate has to sign, notarize, and then send this application form to the State Licensing Office.
  • One may require to fill up a training verification form to ensure that the training course that they have attended is a part of the credited program. The application form will then be sent to the Nurse Aide Registry to support the applicant’s license.
  • One needs to undergo background and medical checks. For the background check, the applicant has to fill a fingerprint card at the Department of Public Safety to pass the criminal background check.

After these procedures are finished, the license application has to be approved by the local board of nursing. The application will be processed in four to eight weeks and the applicant will be informed through an e-mail or a letter.

The rules regarding the retests and the frequency at which one can re-appear may differ from one state to the other. Students must check about the same with their state health department.

Advantages of CNA Exam

  • Obtain CNA certification
  • Obtain CNA license that will enable you to get a job of a certified nurse aide in any health care industry of the state
  • Obtain the skills required to become a certified medication aide

CNA Job Opportunities After the Exam

Most colleges and universities have an agent to help the students in placing them in different medical settings as per their experience and workplace expectations. For home health aides, there is a national certification that is administered by the National Association for Home Care.

The Healthcare sector has many opportunities for individuals who want to pursue a stable and lucrative career. Certified nursing assistant jobs are high in-demand among such aspirants as they open up many avenues and also provide an opportunity to earn high salary at the beginning of your career.

Tips to Clear Certified Nurse Aide Exam

It is important to clear both the theoretical and practical exams to get the nursing assistant certification. There are some points that you need to consider, as it will help you in effectively clearing the exam.

  • Practice answers to all the different type of questions before appearing for the final examination
  • Be clear will all the basic concept of nursing and health care
  • Wash your hands before demonstrating the skills to the examiner
  • Do not enter the room of the patient without knocking at the door during the practical test demonstration
  • Be careful and attentive while handling the patient’s door during the practical test demonstration
  • Read and understand the questions carefully then answer the question in an effective manner

One of the best ways to score good marks in the nursing aide competency tests is to attempt several practice tests. One such organization that conducts practice tests is the Prometric. Its official site comprises of several practice questions that have a paper pattern similar to the final test papers.

For the CNA’s who are just starting out, there are a number of free practice tests available on internet sites. For example, we have compiled several questions as well as our complete study guide to provide you with all that you need for your exam prep here!

Myths About CNA Examination

Below are the common myths that give inaccurate information about CNA exam:

One needs to have at the very least six (6) months of experience working as a practice nurse before he or she can be qualified to take the examinations.

Of course, this is untrue, as the CNA exam only tests the nurse’s knowledge of the basic skills necessary to begin practicing as such. This myth was born because those who are already practicing as nurses are more confident with their skills, knowledge, and experience. As such, they choose to take the examinations after having gained such expertise. This is to ensure passing.

The examination does not deal with the nursing profession’s whole area and deals only with a limited few.

This is not true as the examination tests the knowledge of a nurse is varied and broad areas to ensure that those taking it have in-depth knowledge of the nursing practice.

Questions in the examinations are presented in grouped topics.

This is inaccurate. The questions are presented randomly. One question may deal with diabetes, and the next question may jump to how to deal with children’s sicknesses like a fever.

It is expensive to take the exam because of the high fee.

This is totally inaccurate. There are a large number of institutions that offer affordable certification programs. The rate may range from $500 to around $1200.

A certified nursing assistant who is nationally certified may also be allowed to practice as a licensed nurse practitioner.

Most states require that a national certification be obtained first before taking a licensure examination. Thus, if an individual is certified nationally, such certification is only a requirement for such an individual to obtain a license and not to practice.

Being certified and licensed in one state means that an individual can practice in all states.

This is not true because each state has its own regulations regarding practice, and as such, one must first obtain a license in the state where he or she wants to practice before engaging in such activity.

The nursing practice is the same in each state

This is not true. There are various significant differences. For example, some states allow a nurse practitioner to prescribe medication even without a physician overseeing such a prescription. Simultaneously, some states mandate that a physician’s supervision is required before a nurse practitioner may prescribe medication.

In an exam administered through computers, once you state or choose your answer, the same can no longer be changed.

Answers may be changed as long as you have not yet signed off. You may even flag questions before you sign off to review the question later. As long as you are still signed in, questions may be reviewed, and answers may be changed.

If you earned a nursing degree online, such a degree would not be credited.

This is a huge myth. Online degrees are credited. There are reputable schools and universities and even colleges accredited which offer online nursing degrees. They are affiliated with online CNA courses and are offering classes online.

Employers do not recognize license obtained through an online exam.

This is inaccurate. Traditional courses and online courses are both accredited and recognized. Applying for an online course and an online exam is actually a showing of great discipline and initiative for those nurses who want to seek higher levels of learning but are too busy with their current jobs. It is a plus point and not a negative point.


We hope that this blog post has provided you with a helpful overview of the CNA state certification exam. Keep practicing, keep reading, and most importantly- stay positive! If you’re a CNA student who feels like it’s near impossible to understand the material, we want to help. Visit our study guide post for comprehensive resources on how to prepare for your exam. You can also contact us if you have any questions or need additional assistance preparing for testing day. Good luck out there!


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