Apply for a Certification

Nurse aide certification involves training, practical skills evaluation, a written/oral exam and a criminal background check

Certification candidates must successfully complete the Nurse Aide in Long Term Care Facilities Training and Competency Evaluation Program (NATCEP). The training course is 90 hours, consisting of 50 classroom hours and 40 clinical hours.

Please review "Navigating the NATCEP" for a detailed look at the certification process.  

To enroll in an approved training program, please contact one of the following:

Certification through equivalency or reciprocity

If you are certified in another state or U.S. territory, your certification may allow you to work in New Jersey and be placed on the state registry if you satisfy the following:

  • You provide documentation from the state's or U.S. territory's registry that you have a current, valid certificate from the state or territory where you now practice; and
  • You have not been convicted of any crimes and have no findings of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of resident property on that state's registry; and
  • You meet the requirements of Reciprocity Route 1 or Reciprocity Route 2, described below

Reciprocity Route 1

If you are applying based on Continuing Education Units (CEUs): Within the prior 24 months, you must have completed 24 hours of approved CEUs.  These CEUs must include 12 hours of approved continuing education in care for residents with Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementia-related disorders, and a total of 12 hours of approved continuing education in the following areas: infection control procedures; emergency procedures; abuse and neglect, and misappropriation of resident property; resident rights; and pharmacy. 

Reciprocity Route 2

If you are applying based on full-time employment: You must have 24 months of full-time employment in the other state or territory, including at least 35 hours per week, as a CNA performing nursing-related service, supervised by a licensed nurse in a nursing home.  The most recent date of such work must be within the 24-month period immediately preceding the date of the application.  Route 2 applicants must also pass the New Jersey clinical skills competency examination and the written/oral competency examination.

Call 1-877-774-4243 to apply for reciprocity.

Certification through vocational training and other means

You may take the Department's examination without completing a nurse aide training course and clinical skills evaluation if you qualify as one of the following:

  • You are a student, graduate nurse, or foreign licensed nurse who submits evidence of successful completion of a course in the fundamentals of nursing;
  • You can submit evidence of successfully completing a course in the fundamentals of nursing within the 12 months immediately preceding your application to take the competency examination. This category includes:
    • You have training and experience as a nurse aide in a military service
    • You are certified as homemaker-home health aide by the New Jersey Board of Nursing, and successfully completed the Long-Term Care Module of the Core Curriculum for Unlicensed Assistive Personnel; (Clinical skills evaluation is still required)
    • You have successfully completed the Core Curriculum for Unlicensed Assistive Personnel provided by the New Jersey Board of Nursing, and the Long-Term Care Module of the Core Curriculum for Unlicensed Assistive Personnel. (Clinical skills evaluation is still required)
Nurse aides in hospitals

New Jersey does not require nurse aides to be certified to work in an acute care hospital. However, if a hospital has a licensed long term care unit or a licensed sub-acute unit, certified nurse aides must staff those units.

Hospitals must use the approved New Jersey State Board of Nursing Unlicensed Assistive Personnel (UAP) curriculum to develop and implement a training program for unlicensed assistive personnel. Please refer to the Hospital Licensing Standards, N.J.A.C. 8:43G-18.3(e), (f).

For more information regarding the Unlicensed Assistive Personnel curriculum, contact the Board of Nursing 973-504-6430.

Last Reviewed: 8/14/2023