Qualifications and Requirements
Arkansas is a bit stricter with its regulations on Certified Nurse Assistants than other states. One distinction from other states is that hopeful applicants only have one year to take and pass their certification tests after completing a state-approved nurse aide training program. Most others allow two years. Arkansas also allows only three attempts to pass both portions of the test. The consequence of failing more than three times is that an applicant must retake their training course before taking another certification test. New CNA applicants must provide proof of their completion of a state-approved nurse aide training program. Some training programs will schedule the test date for its own participants, therefore you may not need to schedule a certification exam on your own. If you are in need of a test-date, provide the appropriate fee or documentation for state payment of the cost with your application. If you are not a new applicant, you will most likely have to obtain approval from Arkansas’s Office of Long-Term Care, or the OLTC. For example, if you received your nurse aide training from another state, a student currently enrolled in a RN or LPN program, or transferring your certification from another state, you will need to get in contact with the appropriate state boards for approval and to receive further accommodation. The state has changed its policy on military-trained medics, no longer accepting this common form of certification. They will consider cases brought to them on an individual basis, however, so getting in touch with the OLTC is a good idea if this is the type of training you have received.
Wage and Cost
The average wage of a CNA working in Arkansas is around $21,000 along a range between $18,700 and $23,000. This is at the lower end of pay-rates for CNAs in the United States, falling in among the other Southern states. There are a couple fees involved in the application process. The first is an Eligibility Screening Fee of $10 and the second is the cost for the certification tests themselves. Taking both at the same time is $79 but taking the written and the practical portions separately adds up to the same amount. Arkansas offers to pay these fees for the applicant if they are already employed in an Arkansas nursing home or has an offer for employment. In order to receive the state payment, a letter from the nursing home of employment must be provided with the initial application.