The informaton below describes the process for the enrolling and testing of individuals who wish to perform nurse aide duties in long-term care facilities in Pennsylvania .
Included is an explanation of who is eligible to be tested, an overview of the examination, and guidelines for enrollment into the nurse aide registry.
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging has contracted with Pearson VUE, a nationally recognized, independent testing company to develop, score, and report the results of the examination program for registration of nurse aides.
Eligibility by Examination
- 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 at www.pearsonvue.com or by contacting Pearson VUE at 1-800-852-0518. Student nurses or applicants trained out of state must submit the Pennsylvania Department of Education approved application with their registration form.
Testing Scheduling Process
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 the responsibility of the individual to contact American Red Cross if the confirmation letter is NOT received within ten (10) business days of submission. American Red Cross is NOT responsible for lost, misdirected or delayed mail delivery.
There are two parts to this examination process-a skills examination and a written examination. All nurse aide applicants must pass both examinations before being listed on the Nurse Aide Registry.
In the skills examination, you will be asked to perform five (5) randomly selected nurse aide skills. You will be scored on these skills by a registered nurse evaluator. The skills are listed in the nurse aide handbook which is available through Pearson VUE. The written examination consists of fifty multiple choice questions written in English. An overview of the written test subject matter can be found in the handbook. Sample test questions are also provided. 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 that are presented on cassette plus ten reading comprehension questions.
You are permitted three (3) 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.
If you decide to take the oral test in English, you must indicate choice of testing method on the test registration form prior to submission to American Red Cross.
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 in the handbood or may be obtained by calling American Red Cross at 800-795-2350.
Check with your instructor or employer for more information on testing.
You MUST have the following items with you when you take the examination:
- two forms of identification that have your signature; one piece of identification should have your picture (examples: social security card, driver's license, credit card, passport, alien registration card);
- three No. 2 pencils;
- an eraser;
- your social security number;
- watch with a second hand.
No other materials will be allowed.
For the Skills Test , the allowable testing period is 30 minutes. If you have questions, ask the evaluator before testing begins.
For the Written Test, the administrator will hand out materials and give instructions for completing the answer sheet. The administrator will read aloud a set of instructions for taking the test. Your may take up to two hours to finish the test. You will be told when fifteen minutes remain to complete the test. Complete your answer sheet carefully. Put your answers on the answer sheet only; credit will not be given for anything marked in the test booklet.
ADA Testing Accommodations
Pearson VUE certifies that it shall comply with the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act (42 USCG Section 12101 et.seq.) and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, as amended (42 U.S.C. Section 2000e et.seq.) in accommodating candidates who, because of a disability, need special arrangements to enable them to take an examination. If you need special arrangements for testing because of a disabling condition, you may ask for special testing services. All examination sites have access for candidates with disabilities.
Any candidate requesting special testing arrangements due to impaired sensory, manual, speaking skills, or other disability must submit a written request which includes name, address, and social security number, the test date desired, test location, time of examination, and a description of the special requirements.
This letter must be received by American Red Cross along with your test registration material and must include:
- proof of your disability from your health provider and
- a statement of the type of help you need.
Nurse evaluators administering the skills test will be prepared to meet the needs of nurse aides who have disabling conditions.
This request must also include supporting documentation from a physician or other qualified professional reflecting a diagnosis of the condition and an explanation of the need for test aids or modifications. Pearson VUE will provide auxiliary aids and services, except where it may fundamentally alter the examination or results, or result in an undue burden. An appointment for the examination will be scheduled upon submission of all necessary information to American Red Cross at 1804 North Sixth Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102.
Pearson VUE recommends, due to the unique nature of each request for special arrangements and the types of variables involved with testing (testing frequencies as permitted by state licensing agencies and individual test center capabilities), that a candidate requesting special services do so as much in advance of their desired test date as possible. Concerted attempts to offer reasonable accommodations will be made.
Oral Test in English
A self-assessment reading test, found in the handbook, may be used to help determine if it would be advisable that you take the Oral English test. An oral test in English is available to you upon request. You or your employer must notify American Red Cross at the time of registration on your registration form.
The oral test in English consists of fifty multiple choice questions that are presented orally on cassette tape plus ten reading comprehension questions in which the nurse aide must identify common job-related words.
If you give or take help from anyone during testing, the test will end, and the incident will be reported to the Pennsylvania Department of Aging for review. Your test will not be scored. Anyone who takes or tries to take test material or information from the test site will be prosecuted. No study materials may be brought to the test site or used during testing including dictionaries in any language.
Fees are non-refundable and non-transferable once submitted to American Red Cross. They cover administrative costs incurred in processing and testing.
If for any reason you are unable to attend a scheduled test, you must contact American Red Cross AT LEAST THREE BUSINESS DAYS before the test date to reschedule your test. Saturday and Sunday are not considered business days. If you do not contact DASHER at least three business days in advance to reschedule an examination or fail to report for your scheduled test date, your fee will NOT be refunded or transferred to a new test date. Substitution candidates are not permitted.
To contact American Red Cross , please call a Customer Service Representative at 800-795-2350 during business hours.
If your facility paid your testing fee, it is highly recommended that you notify your facility after you canceled your test date with American Red Cross.
Since unexpected situations sometimes occur, American Red Cross will consider making an exception for a serious illness or an emergency only if the request is submitted within 2 business days prior to the scheduled test date or within 1 day after the scheduled examination. You may be asked to provide evidence of the situation. American Red Cross's decision regarding a cancellation waiver will be final. If your cancellation request is valid, your fees will be refunded minus $15.00 processing fee per test canceled.
There is no fee for rescheduling a test date; however, you are only permitted to reschedule one time.
Refer to current Nurse Aide Handbook, consult with a American Red Cross Customer Service Representative or your employer if you need help to determine the proper fees.
According to the OBRA Rules and Regulations, if you are currently employed in a nursing facility in Pennsylvania , your employer must pay this fee. If you are not currently employed in a nursing facility in Pennsylvania , you must pay this fee.
Acceptable forms of payment include certified checks, company checks, company purchase orders, or money orders. Personal checks will not be accepted unless you are a non-employed test taker. Make check payable to "Pearson Vue". Cash will not be accepted.
Reimbursement for Nurse Aide Joining and/or 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.
Reimbursement will be made on a pro rated basis. You will be reimbursed for half the cost of training and testing after you have worked at the long-term care facility for 130 hours and the remaining half of the training and testing cost after you have worked an additional 130 hours. You must provide written documentation to the long-term care facility to support your request for payment.
You will be told whether you have passed or failed the skills test immediately after you take the test. The nurse evaluator will discuss the skills test results with you. The nurse evaluator and you must sign the skills test form. You will then be given your own copy of the skills test results.
If you fail the skills test, you may retake the test at a later date. The current fee for the skills part of the test is required each time you retake the skills test.
An original, completed test registration form must be submitted at the time of re-application. See test scheduling process in the handbook for details.
After you take the written test, the proctor will score your answer sheet and advise whether you have passed or failed the written test. If you fail, you will get instructions on how to reapply for that test on your score report. The current written test fee is required each time you retake the written test.
An original, completed test registration form must be submitted at the time of re-application.
When you pass both the skills and written test, your name will be placed on the Pennsylvania Registry. The Pennsylvania Department of Health (DOH) 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 4-6 weeks after successfully completing the clinical skills and written/oral competency evaluation examinations. In the interim your status may be checked on the public registry website at https://pulseportal.com.
Do not make any changes to your registry card. Any changes to the registry card could affect your status as a nurse aide.
If you are a nurse aide who is currently listed on another state's nurse aide registry as active and in good standing, according to Federal nursing home nurse aide statutes, and you are seeking enrollment onto the Commonwealth of PA Nurse Aide Registry, you should contact the Department of Health via Pearson VUE, PO Box 13785, Philadelphia, PA 19101-3785. The reciprocity forms are also available at www.pearsonvue.com.
Renewal of Continued Registry Enrollment Process
The Department of Health will mail a notification of continued enrollment on the nurse aide registry to the home address of the nurse aide as listed on the registry approximately 90 days prior to expiration. To be eligible for continued enrollment you are required to work for pay as a nurse aide in a nursing environment such as a nursing home, hospital or home health setting for at least eight hours during the previous 24 months of enrollment. Self-employed or private duty experience is not recognized as work experience for continued enrollment.
Upon successfully renewing your enrollment status on the registry, you will be mailed a new registry card valid for the next 24 months. It is imperative that your current address is always listed on the nurse aide registry to ensure receipt of important documentation regarding your enrollment.
Change of Address or Name
The Registry must be kept informed of your current address.
If you change your address or your name any time after you are placed on the Registry, you must inform the Pennsylvania Nurse Aide Registry to keep your enrollment information up-to-date. Please use the Change of Address or Name form at the back of the handbook or access form on the website.
If you changed your name, you must submit written documentation along with a Change of Address or Name form. This documentation may be a copy of a marriage certificate, a divorce decree, or another official document.
If you don't have a Change of Address or Name form, you may send a letter to the Pennsylvania Department of Health informing them of your old name or address, your new name or address, your social security number, and your telephone number. There is no charge for this service. If you want your registry card to have your new name, you must contact Pearson VUE at the address or phone number listed previously.
Note: Under federal requirements, enrollment is no longer valid for any individual who has had a lapse of 24 consecutive months or more in the performance of paid nursing-related services. It is critical to update the employment history of all individuals on the nurse aide Registry. You will receive notification at the home address listed on the registry regarding continued enrollment. Failure to inform the registry may jeopardize your enrollment status.
Lost Registry Cards
If you lose your registry card, you may receive another copy by sending in the Duplicate Registry Card Request form in the back of the handbook to the Pennsylvania Department of Health. There is no charge for this service.