CNA Classes in Tennessee (Top Schools)

Tennessee map

In Tennessee, the Department of Health (TDH) manages the regulations for becoming Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs).

For you to become one, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Complete a state-approved nurse aide training program (NATP)
  • Pass the Tennessee Nurse Aide Competency Exam (TN NACE)

Once you’ve completed these, you will be listed in the state’s Nurse Aide Registry (NAR).

Do note that the certification is only valid for 24 months.

To maintain this designation, you must apply for renewal every two years, showing proof that you’ve worked for at least eight hours.

Taking on a CNA Training Program in Tennessee

The first step toward becoming a CNA is to complete a state-approved NATP.

Per TDG, you will undergo a minimum of 75 hours of training, with at least 16 hours of clinical training.

If you’re receiving facility-based training or employed in one, the facility will shoulder your training and TN NACE expenses.

The following are some of the CNA training programs approved by TDH that you can check out.

25 CNA Schools in Tennessee

School NameAddress
Life Care Center of AthensAthens, TN 37303
The Heritage at BrentwoodBrentwood TN 37027
Life Care Center of Bruceton-Hollow RockBruceton, TN 38317
Kindred Nursing and Rehabilitation – Smith CountyCarthage, TN 37030-1091
Chattanooga State Community CollegeChattanooga,TN 37406
Durham-Hensley Health and RehabilitationChuckey, TN 37641
Austin Peay State UniversityClarksville, TN 37044
Signature Healthcare of ClevelandCleveland, TN 37312
Ivy Hall Nursing HomeElizabethton, TN
Center on Aging and HealthErwin, TN 37650
Etowah Health Care CenterEtowah, TN 37331
Claiborne and Hughes Health Care CenterFranklin, TN 37064
Gallaway Health and RehabGallaway, TN 38036
Harriman Care & Rehabilitation CenterHarriman, TN 37748
American Red Cross Tennessee Mountain ValleyKnoxville, TN 37909
Shannondale Health Care CenterKnoxville, TN 37909
Manchester Health Care CenterManchester, TN 37355
Blount Memorial HospitalMaryville, TN 37804
Career AcademyMemphis, TN 38112
Dr. Benjamin L. Hooks Job Corps CenterMemphis, TN 38116
Quince Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLCMemphis, TN 38119
Mountain City Care and Rehabilitation CenterMountain City, TN 37683
Ridgeview Terrace of Life CareRutledge, TN 37861
Harbert Hills AcademySavannah, TN 38372
Reelfoot Manor Health and RehabTiptonville, TN 38079

Evaluating a CNA Candidate

After taking NATP, you’ll then sit for the Tennessee NACE, which will be administered by D&SDT-Headmaster.

This exam evaluates your knowledge and skills competencies to provide safe nursing care to residents.

To take it, you must first schedule your test date within two years of training completion.

Now, let’s take a closer look at who can take TN NACE, as well as the exam’s specifics.

Candidates Eligible to Take the TN NACE

D&SDT-Headmaster will only accept the following CNA candidates to sit for TN NACE:

  1. TN-trained nurse aides who completed NATP in the last two years
  2. CNA with lapsed certification in TN NAR
  3. Temporary Nurse Aides
  4. Nursing students in the RN or LPN program
  5. Military-trained candidates
  6. Foreign licensed nurses
  7. Out-of-state CNAs where Tennessee doesn’t accept reciprocity
  8. Out-of-state nurse aides who completed a TN-equivalent NATP
  9. Individuals who received medical training
  10. Individuals who were unable to register from their training facility

Candidates belonging to nos. 3 to 10 are considered challengers and must obtain a challenge approval letter from TDH before they’re qualified to take the exam.

For the challenge application requirements, visit D&SDT-Headmaster’s website.

The Tennessee NACE

The exam has two parts: a knowledge test (written or oral) and a skills test.

You must pass both tests to successfully complete TN NACE.

Here’s what you should know about each test:

Knowledge Test

  • The questions are based on the approved test plan by TDH and in the OBRA involving the following subject areas:
    • Aging process / Restorative care
    • Basic nursing skills
    • Care impaired
    • Communication
    • Data collection
    • Disease process
    • Infection control
    • Mental health
    • Personal care
    • Resident rights
    • Role and responsibility
    • Safety
  • It consists of 75 multiple-choice questions to be completed in 90 minutes.
  • An oral test is available upon request.
  • Both written and oral tests can be in English or Spanish upon request.
  • In the Spanish written or oral test…
    • 65 questions will be in Spanish
    • 10 questions will be in English to assess your reading comprehension
  • Paperback translation dictionaries are allowed but subject to the inspection of the RN Test Observer.
  • Passing rate is 75%.

Skills Test

  • Evaluation will simulate nursing aide scenarios under the instructions of the RN Test Observer.
  • You’ll have three or four assigned skill tasks, with one mandatory first task involving handwashing.
    • Bedpan and output with required hand washing
    • Catheter care for a female with required hand washing
    • Isolation gown and gloves and emptying a urinary drainage bag with required hand washing
    • Perineal care for a female with required hand washing
  • You have 35 minutes to complete all assigned skill tasks.
  • If you perform any mistakes on any of the steps, you can correct them anytime within the test duration.
  • Passing rate is 80% on each task, with all key steps accounted for.

Read the Candidate Handbook available on D&SDT-Headmaster’s website for study resources and other exam information.

Exam Fees

You or your employer will pay the following fees, whether it’s your initial exam or retake:

  • Written knowledge test – $30
  • Oral knowledge test – $30
  • Skills test – $68

After these have been paid, you can then schedule your tests and choose a test site.

Exam Results

Typically, you can view your exam results one business day after your tests.

D&SDT-Headmaster will post it on your TestMaster Universe account at 6 PM EST or 7 PM CST.

If you pass both tests, you will be listed on TN NAR and issued a CNA certificate.

Also, expect to receive your certification card within four to six weeks of passing the TN NACE.

However, if you fail, you’ll have to retake the test/s you failed.

You can refer to your score report for the retesting instructions.

Do note that you only have three attempts to pass each test within 24 months of training completion.

If you don’t get satisfactory results by then, you’ll need to retrain in NATP to qualify to sit for TN NACE.

Certification by Reciprocity

Out-of-state CNAs, except for those in Florida, can transfer their certification to Tennessee if they:

  • Have an active status in another state’s NAR
  • Are in good standing in that state’s NAR

To apply:

  • Fill in the Out-of-State Nurse Aide Registration Form, which is available at D&SDT-Headmaster’s website
  • Pay the processing fee of $20

Then send your application to this address:

D&SDT Reciprocity
PO Box 418
Findlay, OH 45839-0418

If deemed qualified, you’ll be listed on TN NAR no more than a week after sending your application.

Potential Salary

In Tennessee, a CNA’s salary depends on many factors, such as:

  • Education
  • Skill level
  • Years of experience
  • Workplace location

Currently, you can receive an average salary of around $28,000 a year.

You’ll find the salaries in the different places across the state in the table below.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of CNAs in Tennessee

City NameSalary
Johnson City$27,578
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Nursing Assistants, OCC Code 31-1131, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Regional Salary

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Chattanooga, TN-GA2,150$31,220$15.01$36,210$26,830
Clarksville, TN-KY710$30,210$14.53$36,110$24,170
Cleveland, TN660$27,570$13.25$33,500$24,250
Jackson, TN760$29,520$14.19$34,830$24,680
Johnson City, TN1,090$32,120$15.44$37,320$26,590
Kingsport-Bristol-Bristol, TN-VA1,280$30,980$14.89$35,570$25,800
Knoxville, TN3,250$30,040$14.44$36,390$25,460
Memphis, TN-MS-AR3,990$32,430$15.59$37,020$27,940
Morristown, TN310$31,230$15.02$35,980$26,340
Nashville-Davidson--Murfreesboro--Franklin, TN7,260$33,450$16.08$39,590$28,710
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Nursing Assistants, OCC Code 31-1131, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

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