CNA Skills Test Categories

Within CNA training programs and examinations, there is a basic set of common skills aspiring candidates will learn about. These skills set forth a foundation for a CNA to learn and develop in both a classroom and a clinical setting.

Who provides the test in your state?

Lots of websites will throw out information on which skills you need to brush up on before your CNA skills test. However, there are multiple providers of the skills test depending on your state and which organization or school you’re attending. Below is a chart of the test providers by state, and following that is an exhaustive list of the skills you may be tested on based on the provider, as each of them is a bit different. Make sure you’re studying for the correct test, you don’t want to miss out on studying for skills that you’ll need to pass the exam.



CNA skills list by provider

Now that you know which providers are available in your state, you can run through the required skills for your available provider(s).

Prometric 

  1. Hand hygiene 
  2. Assist to ambulate using transfer belt
  3. Indirect care
  4. Assist with use of bedpan
  5. Clean upper or lower denture
  6. Count and record radial pulse
  7. Count and record respirations
  8. Dress client with an affected arm
  9. Feed client who cannot feed self
  10. Empty, measure and record urinary output
  11. Perform modified passive range of motion (PROM) for one knee and one ankle
  12. Perform modified passive range of motion (PROM) for one shoulder
  13. Position client on side
  14. Provide catheter care for female
  15. Provide foot care on one foot
  16. Provide mouth care
  17. Provide perineal care (PERI-CARE) for female
  18. Transfer from bed to wheelchair using transfer belt
  19. Change bed linen while the resident remains in bed (not tested in Wyoming)
  20. Provide hand and nail care
  21. Give partial bed bath and back rub
  22. Provide resident with passive range of motion (ROM) exercises to one elbow and wrist

Pearson Vue

  1. Hand hygiene
  2. Applying knee high elastic stocking 
  3. Assists to ambulate to a transfer belt
  4. Assist with use of bedpan
  5. Cleans upper and/or lower denture
  6. Measure and record radial pulse
  7. Measure and record respirations
  8. Donning and removing gown and gloves (PPE)
  9. Dress client with affected arm
  10. Feed client that cannot feed themselves
  11. Provide modified bed bath
  12. Measure and record electronic blood pressure
  13. Measure and record urinary input
  14. Measure and record weight
  15. Perform passive range of motion for knee and ankle
  16. Perform passive range of motion for shoulder
  17. Position client on side
  18. Provide catheter care for female
  19. Provide foot care on one foot
  20. Provide mouth care
  21. Provide perineal care for female
  22. Transfer client from bed to wheelchair with a transfer belt
  23. Measure and record manual blood pressure

Headmaster

  1. Abdominal thrust
  2. Ambulation with cane or walker
  3. Ambulation with gait belt
  4. Antiembolic stockings
  5. Blood pressure
  6. Brief application
  7. Mouth care
  8. Denture care and oral care
  9. Dressing a client
  10. Feeding a dependent client
  11. Fluid intake
  12. Foot care
  13. Gown and gloves
  14. Hair care
  15. Hand washing
  16. Making an occupied bed
  17. Mouth care of a comatose resident
  18. Nail care
  19. Partial bed bath
  20. Passing fresh water
  21. Perineal care for female
  22. Perineal care for uncircumcised male
  23. Position client on side
  24. Measure and record pulse and respiration (a.k.a. Vital signs)
  25. Range of motion exercise
  26. Measuring temperature using digital, tympanic or temperature dot thermometer
  27. Bedpan and output
  28. Transfer from bed to wheelchair with gait belt
  29. Transfer from wheelchair to bed using a gait belt
  30. Managing urinary drainage bag
  31. Weighing an ambulatory resident

American Red Cross

  1. Handwashing (at a real sink, using soap and water)
  2. Put on and remove gown and gloves
  3. Position the resident in a fowler’s position
  4. Position the resident in a side-lying (lateral) position
  5. Transfer the resident from bed to chair using a gait belt
  6. Make an occupied bed
  7. Brush the resident’s dentures
  8. Mouth care for an unconscious resident
  9. Give the resident a partial bed bath (upper body) – face-neck-chest-abdomen-arms-hands
  10. Give the resident a partial bed bath (lower body) – hips-legs-feet
  11. Give the resident a back rub/massage
  12. Give the resident perineal care (female resident)
  13. Shave the resident
  14. Clean and trim the resident’s fingernails
  15. Dress the resident with a paralyzed/contracted arm
  16. Serve the meal tray and feed the paralyzed resident
  17. Measure and record the height of a resident using an upright scale
  18. Measure and record the weight of a resident using an upright scale
  19. Assist the resident with the bedpan
  20. Count and record the resident’s radial pulse
  21. Count and record the resident’s respirations
  22. Take and record the resident’s blood pressure
  23. Perform passive range of motion (upper body) – shoulders-elbows-wrists-fingers
  24. Perform passive range of motion (lower body) – hips-knees-ankles-toes
  25. Assist the resident in walking using a gait belt

CNA Skills Test FAQ

People tend to have a lot of questions about the CNA skills test, so we’ll do our best to try to answer some of those for you.

What is the format of the CNA skills exam?

The format of the CNA skills test varies depending on which state you are in and who is administering your test. You will be required to demonstrate three to six different skills that a nursing aide is expected to perform. Some providers will have mandatory skills included among those tested like hand hygiene and indirect care.

How is the CNA skills test graded?

As you walk through your demonstration an evaluator scores you based on a checklist for each skill. You will be marked down for deficiencies when demonstrating a skill, and some elements of the skill are weighted more heavily than others. These critical steps are sometimes referred to as the “bold steps” of a CNA skill. 

What are the required skills for the CNA skills test?

The skills you are tested on can vary, so it’s important to practice all required skills before taking your exam. Some test providers will have mandatory skills that will certainly be on the test, so it’s useful to know those. For example, Pearson Vue tests require hand washing, while Prometric’s required clinical skills include hand washing, indirect care and using a transfer belt.

How do I pass the CNA skills test?

To pass the CNA skills test you’ll need to reach the required score for your state’s testing provider. Typically, that score falls within the range of 70% to 80%. 

Is the CNA skills exam hard?

If you’ve ever spoken to someone who has taken the CNA skills test, you’ll find that very few people will tell you it’s easy. That said, if you have a good plan and show up prepared you should be able to pass your skills competency evaluation on the first try. It’s important to consistently walk through your CNA skills while also taking CNA practice tests of the written portion of the exam.