In New Jersey, the Department of Health (DOH) holds jurisdiction over Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs).
As such, the department has outlined the requirements for you to be a CNA in the state:
- Complete the Nurse Aide in Long Term Care Facilities Training and Competency Evaluation Program (NATCEP)
- Pass the NATCEP exam
- Undergo a criminal background check (CBC)
- Taking on a CNA Training Program in New Jersey
- Evaluating a CNA Candidate
- Certification by Reciprocity
- Submitting to a Criminal Background Check
- Potential Salary
- CNA Schools by City
Taking on a CNA Training Program in New Jersey
As an aspiring CNA, the DOH requires that you receive nursing assistant education from an approved training facility.
These training facilities can be a:
- Long-term care (LTC) facility you’re interested to work at
- County vocational/community college
In this way, it ensures that you’ll gain the practical knowledge and skills to care for patients.
At a minimum, the NATCEP curriculum will have 90 hours of training, wherein you’ll spend:
- 50 hours on classroom instruction
- 40 hours on supervised clinical training at an LTC facility
Below, you’ll find some of the NATCEP training facilities approved by the DOH.
15 CNA Schools in New Jersey
|4 Tees Health Care Training School||East Orange, NJ 07017|
|Ace Health Care Training Institute Inc.||Dover, NJ 07801|
|Bergen Home Care and Nursing||Hackensack, NJ 07601|
|Burlington County Institute of Technology||Medford, NJ 08055|
|Cape Training Center||North Cape May, NJ 08204|
|Divine Tech Institute||East Orange, NJ 07018|
|Excel Career Training||New Brunswick, NJ 08901|
|Karing with Kindness||Linwood, NJ 08221|
|Milford Manor||West Milford, NJ 07480|
|Moe Shea Corporation||Bordentown, NJ 08505|
|Prism Career Institute||Cherry Hill, NJ 08002|
|Rowan College at Gloucester County||Sewell, NJ 08080|
|Samuel Morris Career Institute of New Jersey||Newark, NJ 07102|
|Touchstone Institute||Vineland, NJ 08360|
|Warren County Community College||Phillipsburg, NJ 08865|
Waiving of the CNA Training Program
Some CNA candidates can skip the training program and take the NATCEP exam immediately.
You will be able to do so if you meet any of the qualifications below:
- Nursing student who completed the Fundamentals of Nursing course in the past 12 months
- Nursing graduate who has yet to sit in the state board exam
- Foreign nurse with an active license in the country of origin
- Military-trained nurse aide
- CNA with expired certification within five years
Do note that this waiver is only valid for one year.
Attached to it is a single chance to pass the exam (both skills and written tests).
If this waiver expires or you fail the exam, then you need to enroll in a CNA training program to retake the exam.
Evaluating a CNA Candidate
The DOH approves of PSI to administer the NATCEP exam.
In this exam, you will undergo two assessments: a skills test and a written/oral test.
Unlike other states where you can take both tests on the same day, New Jersey requires that you take the skills test first.
Only when you pass it will you be eligible for the written/oral test.
In the skills test, you will be assessed on how well you perform a set of nurse aide tasks.
You will perform one mandatory task, which is hand washing, and four randomly selected tasks.
To pass, you must score at least 80% on each task, with all the key steps accounted for.
If you fail at one task, you have the chance to take another skills test with five tasks on it.
But if you fail two or more tasks, you’ll be advised to take another round of a complete skills test.
The written test evaluates your practical knowledge and comprehension as a nursing assistant.
In general, you will take the test in written format and in English.
But you can opt for an oral test and have it in English or Spanish upon request.
The test will consist of 60 multiple-choice questions that you need to complete in 90 minutes.
To pass, you need to score at least 75%.
Along with your application, you must send to PSI the exam fees.
Here are the fees you’ll pay:
- Written and skills tests – $76
- English oral and skills – $90
- Spanish oral and skills tests – $90
- Skills test only (retake) – $23
- Written test only (retake) – $53
- English oral test only (retake) – $67
- Spanish oral test only (retake) – $67
- Reciprocity – $30
As mentioned, you will take the skills test first before the written/oral test.
So your results on the skills test will be given 10 days after you’ve taken the test.
If you pass, you can schedule with PSI for your written/oral test.
If you don’t, you have to retake the skills test.
As for your written/oral test, the results will be given to you shortly after test completion at the test site.
If you pass and…
- Have completed all the requirements for the CNA application, then you’ll receive your certificate then and there
- Have not completed the CBC process, PSI will take your photo
Once the CBC process is done, notify PSI immediately so you can receive your CNA certificate.
Note that the CNA certificate only has 24 months of validity from the date you pass the written/oral test.
However, if you don’t pass the written/oral test, you need to retake it.
You should know that you have two years from training completion to take and pass the NATCEP exam.
But if you have started the skills test, then you have one year from that date to pass both tests.
Allowable NATCEP Exam Attempts
The DOH only gives you three chances to secure a passing score on both skills and written tests.
If you max these chances out, then you need to undergo CNA training again to be qualified to retake the skills or written/oral test.
Please note that if you’re retaking the skills test, you have one year from training completion to pass it successfully.
Certification by Reciprocity
If you’re an out-of-state CNA, you can be certified in New Jersey, adding your name to the Nurse Aide Registry if you:
- Have an active status on another state’s NAR
- Enjoy a good standing (no criminal history) in that state’s NAR
- Meet the requirements of Reciprocity Route 1 or 2
Here are the details for the two reciprocity routes:
Reciprocity Route 1 – Continuing Education Units
You completed 24 hours of approved CEUs, wherein you spend:
- 12 hours on care for residents with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia-related disorders
- 12 hours on the following areas:
- Infection control procedures
- Emergency procedures
- Abuse and neglect
- Misappropriation of resident property
- Resident rights
Reciprocity Route 2 – Full-time Employment
You worked as a CNA with pay in the last 24 months, with at least 35 hours per week.
And unlike the first route, you’ll have to take and pass the NATCEP exam with PSI.
Submitting to a Criminal Background Check
The DOH requires all CNA candidates to complete a CBC application.
This will be conducted by the NJ State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
The good thing is that you won’t have to pay a processing fee for the CBC application or the fingerprint form.
It’s given for free, which you can request from your NATCEP training facility.
For waiver applicants, the CBC forms will be sent after the DOH receives your waiver request.
For reciprocity applicants, the forms will be sent along with your application packet.
In fulfilling the form, you’re required to answer all questions truthfully by law.
After you have completed the application:
- Send the pink copy to your employer
- Keep the blue copy for your records
- Mail the yellow copy to DOH at this address:
PO Box 359
Trenton, NJ 08625-0359
It will take at least 12 weeks for DOH to process your CBC.
Aspiring CNAs want remuneration equal to the services they provide at LTC facilities.
Fortunately, you are compensated well, granting your wish true.
In New Jersey, the average annual salary is $35,033, making it possible for you to live comfortably.
The table below shows the salary information across the state.Annual Salary Range:
Average Salary of CNAs in New Jersey