Qualifications and Regulations
There are several different paths available to those seeking their certification as a Certified Nursing Assistant in the state of New Jersey. Those who are new to the nursing profession must enroll in and complete a state-approved nurse aide training program. These programs require at least 90 hours of training, as specified by the New Jersey Department of Health. Those who are in the process of receiving a nursing degree or are graduates from a nursing program are also qualified to take the certification exam, so long as they prove their academic standing with relevant transcripts. To take the test, the applicant must register with the designated test-provider, PSI. This company handles all of New Jersey’s competency evaluations for their CNAs. After completing the application, the applicant will have up to two years to take and pass both parts of the test with a score of at least 75%. Both the written and clinical skills portions are handled by PSI, though the instructor of your training program is responsible for scheduling the clinical skills portion, as it will require a physical location and proctor, unlike the other online services PSI provides. The skills portion must be taken and passed first before PSI will allow the candidate to challenge the written portion of the test. It is important that all applications are preceded by complete criminal background checks and include fingerprint cards, as this part of the administrative process can take the longest. No applicant will be considered for permanent licensure in the state until their criminal background can be verified.
CNAs working in New Jersey can expect to make an average salary around $28,000, along a pay scale between $24,900 and $31,200. This is above average for most CNAs working in the country, and is especially competitive among neighboring states of the region. New Jersey offers its CNAs both a higher entry-level wage and more compensation for the experienced. This is most likely due to the high demand for healthcare personnel in the state and a competitive job-market in the densely populated state. Training programs vary in price, with nursing homes providing the best perks for keeping educational costs down, which include on-the-job training or similar types of employer sponsorship. The cost to register for both parts of the evaluation on PSI’s website is $78, with a $25 fee for every new attempt made on either section of the test.