NJ CNA Certification

In New Jersey, aspiring Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) can pursue certification through several pathways, ensuring flexibility for individuals from varied backgrounds. The primary method involves completing the 90-hour Nurse Aide in Long Term Care Facilities Training and Competency Evaluation Program (NATCEP), which splits into 50 hours of classroom learning and 40 hours of hands-on clinical training.

 For those with certification from another state, military medical training, or relevant healthcare experience, New Jersey offers alternative routes such as reciprocity, equivalency, or vocational training options. This includes specific paths for nursing students, graduate nurses, foreign licensed nurses, and those with experience as nurse aides in the military or certification as homemaker-home health aides. Each route is designed to recognize and build upon existing skills and experiences, facilitating entry into New Jersey’s healthcare environment as a CNA.

nj cna certification

For those interested in becoming a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) in New Jersey, you’ll need to go through a specific training and certification process. Here’s a condensed guide on how to apply for certification:

  1. Complete the Nurse Aide in Long Term Care Facilities Training and Competency Evaluation Program (NATCEP): This is a mandatory 90-hour course, divided into 50 hours of classroom instruction and 40 hours of clinical training.

  2. Navigating the NATCEP: For a thorough understanding of what the certification process entails, it’s advisable to review any available resources or guides. These materials typically offer valuable insights into the curriculum, examination structure, and other key aspects of the process.

  3. Enroll in an Approved Training Program: To start your journey towards certification, you can enroll in a training program through several avenues:

    • Long Term Care Facility: If there’s a specific facility where you wish to work, inquire if they offer or can recommend a NATCEP.
    • County Vocational School or Community College: Many local educational institutions offer approved nursing aide training programs. Contact the ones in your area to find out about enrollment.
    • Certification Program Office: For official resources, including the New Jersey Nurse Aide Examination Candidate Information Bulletin or a list of approved training programs, reach out to the Certification Program. This can provide you with all necessary details and possibly additional guidance on how to proceed.

For those certified in another state or U.S. territory seeking to work as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in New Jersey, there are specific paths to achieve certification through equivalency or reciprocity. Here’s a brief overview:

  1. Basic Requirements: You must have a current, valid certificate from where you currently practice, with no criminal convictions or findings of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of resident property.

  2. Reciprocity Route 1 (Continuing Education Units – CEUs): Within the last 24 months, complete 24 hours of approved CEUs, including 12 hours focused on care for residents with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia-related disorders, and 12 hours covering infection control, emergency procedures, abuse and neglect, resident rights, and pharmacy.

  3. Reciprocity Route 2 (Full-time Employment): Have 24 months of full-time employment, at least 35 hours per week, as a CNA under the supervision of a licensed nurse in a nursing home. Applicants must have worked within the last 24 months and pass both the New Jersey clinical skills competency examination and the written/oral competency examination.

Certification through Vocational Training and Other Means:

  • For Student, Graduate Nurse, or Foreign Licensed Nurse: Provide evidence of successful completion of a course in the fundamentals of nursing.
  • For Military Service Nurse Aides, Certified Homemaker-Home Health Aides, and Those Completing Core Curriculum for Unlicensed Assistive Personnel: Evidence of course completion in the fundamentals of nursing within the last 12 months is required. Clinical skills evaluation is still necessary for some categories.

Nurse Aides in Hospitals:

  • Certification is not mandatory for nurse aides in acute care hospitals in New Jersey unless the hospital has a licensed long-term care unit or sub-acute unit, which requires certified nurse aides.
  • Hospitals must use the New Jersey State Board of Nursing Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (UAP) curriculum for training unlicensed assistive personnel.


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