Tennessee Nursing Assistant / Nurse Aide Guide

CNA - Certified Nursing Assistant - Aide Practice Exam

Is a License or Certification needed: To get certified and work as a nursing assistant or nurse aide in Tennessee, you need to complete a nursing assistant program and pass a nursing aide exam. You must also be listed on the state’s nurse aide registry.

Who Grants Certification: The Tennessee Department of Health maintains the registry of nurse aides. A company called D & S Diversified grants certification to nursing assistants or nurse aides.

The Qualifications to become Certified: To qualify for Nurse Aide Certification in Tennessee, you must do one of the following:

  • Complete a 75 hour NA course approved by the state of Tennessee and given by a Registered Nurse (who has 2 years of experience, 1-year long-term care experience minimum), complete 16 hours of clinical contact care and pass the state competency evaluation, both written and clinical skills testing.
  • A student who is already enrolled in an LPN or RN nursing program may receive a waiver for the state CNA training program and test if they can show proof of completion of nurse aide skills and basic fundamentals of nursing covered in the state-approved NA programs.
  • Candidates seeking reciprocity from another state (they have a state tested nurse aide certification in good standing from another state) can apply for reciprocity in TN. TN accepts nurse aides in good standing from all states except North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. Candidates from Georgia must provide proof of their Georgia Nurse Aide status in order to apply to challenge Tennessee’s NA test. Candidates from North Carolina and Florida must both retrain and retest in the state of Tennessee.
  • Military-trained medics may provide a copy of their DD-214 in order to challenge the state’s NA test.

How to Apply for Certification and to take the Exam: In order to apply for nurse aide licensure in Tennessee, you will need to:

  • Use the Tennessee State Certified Nurse Aide Exam Application forms found here: 

  • Fill out the application forms and send them along with proof of the above qualifications to:
    D&S Diversified Technologies
    PO Box #418
    Findlay, OH 45839-0418

Test Content: The Certified Nurse Aide Test has two parts, a written section and a skills evaluation. Both parts must be passed to be listed on the Tennessee Nurse Aide Registry. The written section is 75 questions in length. You will have 90 minutes to complete the exam and must receive a 75% to pass.

The written exam covers the following topics:

  • Safety
  • Communication
  • Infection Control
  • Data Collection
  • Personal Care
  • Basic Nursing Skills
  • Mental Health
  • Role and Responsibility
  • Care Impaired
  • Disease Process
  • Resident Rights
  • Older Adult Growth and Development

You can find all details for the written exam here.

The skills evaluation will be a 35 minute time period given to complete 5 selected nurse aide skills. The first skill with be either the Bedpan/Measuring Output Skill or the Perineal Care Skill. You must actually wash your hands during this first skill. For the last 4 skills, you may verbalize that you are “washing your hands”. If you feel that you have missed a step, verbalize to your instructor that you missed it and perform the step. If you miss one of the critical steps, you will fail the skills portion automatically. The critical steps are bolded in the handbook.

Certification Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements: According to Tennessee law, to renew your license, it is required that you have had 8 hours of employment in the paid role of a nurse aide, under a registered nurse, during the past 24 months. This must be paid employment, not volunteer work, and in a nursing environment such as a nursing home, home health setting or a hospital.

You can renew your license online with the Tennessee Department of Health at this link.


TN Nurse Aide Registry
TN Department of Health
Division of Health Care Facilities
Cordell Hull Building, 3rd Floor
425 5th Avenue North
Nashville, TN 37243
Phone: 615-532-5171 or 615-741-7670
Fax: 615-248-3601

To prepare for your nursing assistant or nurse aide exam, use Tests.com’s Certified Nursing Assistant Exam Practice Test Kit with 300 multiple choice questions, written by nursing experts and educators.

For more information on licensing and exam prep, go to Tests.com's CNA Test Guide.

And take Tests.com's free CNA Practice Test.

For nursing assistant and nurse aide exam preparation products and services, such as study guides, practice tests, flashcards and courses, go to Tests.com's CNA listings.