Washington Nursing Assistant / Nurse Aide Guide
Is a License or Certification needed: To get certified and work as a nursing assistant or nurse aide in Washington, you need to complete a nursing assistant program and pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) exam.
Who Grants Certification: The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services grants certification to nursing assistants and nurse aides.
The Qualifications to become Certified: There are three routes of eligibility in order to qualify for receiving a Nurse Aide License in the state of Washington. These include:
- You have successfully completed a Washington state-approved training program within the past year.
- You are a currently enrolled nursing student who has passed the first year of classes.
- Your previous CNA certificate has lapsed. If it has been more than a year since you successfully completed, you will need to retrain and retest.
How to Apply for Certification and to take the Exam: In order to apply for Nurse Aide Licensure in the state of Washington, you will need to first complete a Washington state-approved nurse aide training program (that includes 40 hours of clinical practice) successfully. Upon completion, your trainer will add your name to the PearsonVue website. You will receive an email with instructions on how to activate your account. Once your account is activated, you will be able to schedule your test.
Washington test sites can be found here.
Test Content: The NNAAP test has two parts, a Skills Evaluation and a Written (or oral) part. Both parts must be passed to be listed on the Washington State Nurse Aide Registry. The written section is 70 questions in length, 60 are multiple-choice and 10 are reading comprehension questions. Take two pencils with you. You will have two full hours to complete the exam. (The oral exam if given in place of the written exam is 160 questions in length.) The Skills Evaluation will be a 25 minute time period given to complete 5 randomly selected nurse aide skills.
Content topics include:
- Activities of Daily Living – Hygiene, Dressing and Grooming, Nutrition and Hydration, Elimination, Rest/Comfort/Sleep
- Basic Nursing Skills - Infection Control, Safety/Emergency, Therapeutic/Technical Procedures, Data Collection and Reporting
- Restorative Skills – Prevention, Self-care/Independence
- Psychosocial Care Skills – Emotional and Mental Health Needs
- Spiritual and Cultural Needs
- Client Rights
- Legal and Ethical Behavior
- Member of the Health Care Team
See the Candidate Handbook for more details.
Certification Renewal and Continuing Education Requirements: According to Washington state law, to renew your license, it is required that you have worked in the paid role of a nurse aide 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, through the mail or in-person with the Washington State Department of Health. All further renewal and continuing education details can be found here.
WA OBRA Nurse Aide Registry
Aging & Services Administration Disabilities
PO Box 45600
Olympia, WA 98504-5600