How do you schedule the CNA test in Pennsylvania?

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asked in Certification by Chynell C.
I am having trouble scheduling the examination. I need step-by-step instructions on what forms to fill out or who to call and information on what to expect.

1 Answer

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answered by Brenda M.

The Pennsylvania Department of Aging has contracted with Pearson VUE, an independent testing company to develop, score, and report the results of the examination program for registration of nurse aides.

You are eligible for testing if:

  • you have completed a nurse aide training program approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education within the last 24 months; or

  • your Pennsylvania nurse aide registry has lapsed because you have not worked one documented day providing nursing related services for 24 months or more.

If you are eligible under one of the categories above, you should complete a registration form with the assistance of your training program provider, director of nursing, facility administrator, or other employer. The registration form is available online or by contacting Pearson VUE at 800-852-0518. Student nurses or applicants trained out of state must submit the Pennsylvania Department of Education approved application with their registration form.

Complete the registration form by following the instructions on that application. Testing is scheduled through American Red Cross. Either your training program, your employer, or you must contact American Red Cross to schedule testing at 800-795-2350. You may not be scheduled and tested until you have completed your training.

If a facility registers you for testing at their site, they will be notified by American Red Cross of your test site and date within 48 hours of receipt of your registration form or facility registration form. Candidates scheduled to test at permanent test sites will be mailed a confirmation letter to the address listed on their application. It is your responsibility to contact American Red Cross if the confirmation letter is not received within 10 business days of submission.

There are two parts to this examination process:

  • a skills examination for which the allowable testing period is 30 minutes, and
  • a written or oral examination for which you are allowed up to two hours to finish.

All nurse aide applicants must pass both examinations before being listed on the PA Nurse Aide Registry. In the skills examination, you will be asked to perform five randomly selected nurse aide skills. The written examination consists of fifty multiple choice questions written in English. An oral test in English may be substituted for the written test for those candidates who have difficulty reading English. An oral test consists of fifty multiple choice questions plus ten reading comprehension questions. You will be told whether you have passed or failed the tests immediately after you take them. If you fail, you will get instructions on how to reapply for the tests on your score report.

You are permitted three attempts by State and Federal regulations to pass both clinical skills and written/oral competency evaluation tests. If you do not pass the clinical skills and written/oral tests within two years after completing your nurse aide training program, you are required to complete a new nurse aide training program to be eligible to test again. If you do not report to the testing location on the day of testing, you are considered a no-show which will count as one of the three attempts to pass the test.

Test administration is arranged by American Red Cross. Tests are administered at Pennsylvania nursing facilities or training program sites as well as at permanent test sites across the state. The permanent sites are listed here or may be obtained by calling American Red Cross at 800-795-2350. Check with your instructor or employer for more information on testing.

Long-term care nursing facilities are responsible for the full payment of training and testing cost if your are employed or offered employment as a nurse aide at the time you enter a nurse aide training and competency evaluation program. Federal law prohibits these charges from being imposed on you. If you are not employed with a long-term care facility at the time you are accepted into a nurse aide training and competency evaluation program, but become employed or receive an offer of employment within 12 months of completing the program, you will be reimbursed by the long-term care facility that employs you.

When you pass both the skills and written test, your name will be placed on the Pennsylvania Registry. The Pennsylvania Department of Health has oversight responsibility of the Registry and contracts with Pearson VUE to do day-to-day management. Pearson VUE will mail you a registry card, and it should arrive approximately 4 to 6 weeks after successfully completing the clinical skills and written/oral competency evaluation examinations. You may check your status on the public registry website at any time.