Advisory - February 22, 2012 - Changes to Nurse Aide Training Programs

February 22, 2012

This Advisory concerns all nursing homes with nurse aide training programs (NATPs). Please bring it to the attention of the director of your NATP.

Over the past year, the Department of Health has collaborated with Prometric and key stakeholders to identify and implement improvements to the New York State certified nurse aide(CNA) competency evaluation. These changes focus primarily on exam content and administration and will promote greater standardization, fairness and efficiencies in the program.

The next scheduled improvement is the launching of updated knowledge/written competency exams on July 9, 2012. (NOTE: The curriculum has not changed.) Nurses and CNAs from New York participated in the development of the new exams, ensuring that they determine minimum competency for nurse aides trained in New York. The new exam will be delivered on computers through Prometric's secure internet-based testing (IBT) system at both in-facility testing (IFT) and regional testing site (RTS) locations throughout the State. IBT will not be used for the clinical exam which will continue to be administered in person by nurse aide evaluators.

IBT has many advantages over the current paper-based testing model, including immediate results, access to online score reporting and a quicker path onto the NYS Nurse Aide Registry for qualified candidates. It has proven to be extremely easy to use for similar exams in other states, and we expect the same for New York's candidates.

Please be aware that immediately after implementation on July 9, 2012, there will be a brief one-time delay in providing score reports to candidates as the system changes to electronic communications. Prometric will remind you of this delay as the July 9th implementation date approaches.

All RTS locations will use IBT effective July 9, 2012. IFT sites are strongly encouraged to start using IBT then as well. For IFT sites that cannot acquire computers for testing by July, the paper version of the exam will continue to be available through the end of 2012. Effective January 1, 2013, all knowledge/written exams will be administered via IBT. On and after this date, computers and internet access will be required in order to remain an approved IFT.

The minimum specifications for each computer and station are:

  • Pentium 166+ with at least 32 megs of RAM;
  • Windows 95/98 or higher;
  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher;
  • 56K/v90 or higher speed modem;
  • T-1 cable connection preferred;
  • 100 megabytes free disk space (hard drive);
  • Monitor;
  • Mouse;
  • Keyboard;
  • Audio card; and
  • Headset.

Approved IFT sites must have a minimum of four computer stations that meet the above specifications and that are separated from each other a minimum of three feet in all directions. Accommodations such as computer station arrangement, lighting or screens should be made to reduce potential monitor glare.

If your facility is interested in becoming a RTS location, please email Prometric at with the following information:

  • Contact name and phone number;
  • Training program name or facility name;
  • Training program code;
  • Address;
  • Indication of interest in being a RTS; and
  • Date you will be transitioning to IBT.

As we make progress in this transition, Prometric will provide updates using email, postings on and informational webinars. Detailed information about these upcoming changes as well as general instructions for candidates, clinical skills checklists and more is available at the same internet address.

Thank you for your patience and support as we make these important updates to New York's nursing home nurse aide competency evaluation program. Questions regarding these changes can be directed to the Bureau of Credentialing at (518) 408-1297 or by email to