How to Become a CNA in Wisconsin

How to Become a CNA in Wisconsin

Do you dream of stepping foot into the healthcare industry, but you don’t want to commit to a specific degree just yet? Being a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) is the perfect role for you!

A CNA gets to interact with patients and assist nurses or other medical professionals in nursing homes, clinics, and even hospitals. This job is emotionally rewarding and also financially attractive. Achieving this job requires certification, so you must go through steps which vary depending on the state you’re in. 

If you’re wondering how to become a CNA in Wisconsin, this article is just for you! Here, we’ll elaborate the different steps necessary to achieve this goal. 

So, what are you waiting for? Let’s begin! 

How to Become a CNA in Wisconsin in 5 Easy Steps

Step #1: Choose the Right Path 

Step #2: Enroll in a state-approved program 

Step #3: Pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) Examination

Step #4: Get your CNA Certification 

Step #5: Find a job as a Wisconson CNA

Step #1: Choose the Right Path 

There are two more common paths that will lead you to becoming a CNA in Wisconsin. Read the headings to see which one applies most to you. 

I’m a nursing student. 

If you’re a nursing student, you must complete nursing courses that cover nurse aide training requirements. You must also complete hands-on clinical experience further described here. Afterwards, you must take and pass the competency exam. 

I’m a new student. 

If you’re a new student without prior nurse aide or nursing training, you must enroll in a state-approved nursing program and pass the competency exam. 

This step is the most common, and it is one that we will be discussing in depth in the rest of the article. 

Step #2: Enroll in a State-Approved Program

In Wisconsin, you need to complete a 120-hour state-approved program. This program consists of 32 clinical hours and 88 hours for classroom education.

What Can You Expect to Learn in the Program?

  • Fluids and Meals
  • Anatomy
  • Ethics
  • Mental Health
  • Dementia & Cognitive Changes
  • Emergency Procedures
  • Dressing & Bathing
  • Infection Control
  • Medication
  • Restorative Services
  • Patients’ Rights

The program costs between $500 to $1,000 depending on where you take it. Some programs are more expensive because fees will also cover classroom materials, textbooks and guides, and even uniforms. 

If you’re tight on the budget right now, you can look for free CNA classes. In Wisconsin, adult education centers and nursing homes usually offer these, as long as you work directly with them right after you get the certification. 

Click here for a list of authorized programs in Wisconsin. 

Step #3: Pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) Examination

Wisconsin is one of the states that requires passing both parts of the NNAAP exam: the multiple choice test and the skills demonstration test. 

The multiple choice test consists of 75 multiple-choice questions that should be answered within 60 minutes. You can take this in either written or oral format. If you prefer to take this exam orally, you may request it when scheduling your exam. 

For the skills demonstration test, be ready to perform 5 technical skills within 30 minutes. These may include hand washing, taking blood pressure, counting pulse, and others you’ve encountered in your training. You may see a list of all possible skills tests here. These are chosen at random, so it’s a different set for all examinees. 

The test is administered by both Pearson VUE and the American Red Cross, so you must take the exam at one of their testing sites. 

If you pass both exams, then you can proceed to the application process.

If not, you can retake the exams as many tries as you need; however, you have to pass within a year after finishing your program. 

How much do these tests cost?

You would need to prepare a maximum of $125 to $130. The fee breakdown is as follows: 

  • Written and Skills Evaluation – $125 
  • Oral and Skills Evaluation – $130 
  • Written Exam only – $32 
  • Oral Exam only – $37 
  • Skills Exam only – $93 

What do you need to bring on exam day?

  • 1 Government I.D. with a photo
  • Social Security Card
  • Closed-toe shoes for the skills evaluation
  • Three No.2 pencils and eraser
  • A watch with a second hand

Step #4: Get your CNA Certification

Once you pass your NNAAP Examination, your results will serve as proof of eligibility.

Thankfully in Wisconsin, the exam and state application processes are rolled into one. So it’s really best to pass on your first try for a faster and smoother application.

You can find the application form on the Pearson VUE website.

If you need additional documents such as program certifications, you can easily ask these from your program provider.

Once approved, you will receive your CNA certification online. 

Step #5: Find a Job as Wisconsin CNA

There are many opportunities as a CNA in Wisconsin!

You can find employment in nursing homes, hospitals, medical offices, outpatient care centers, facilities for the elderly, and mental health clinics. 

Sometimes, there are also job openings in film and television housing facilities.

In Wisconsin alone, there are 500 registered nursing homes and 200 hospitals. So we’re optimistic that you can find a job here, as long as you have all the requirements!

Frequently Asked Questions

I have prior healthcare training and an active license. How should I go about my application?

Practicing LN/RN

Since you already have an active license, you just need to submit your transcript and the Nurse Verification form to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services.

Once verified, they will ask you to pass a competency exam, which has a written knowledge test and a skills demonstration test.  

Military Veteran

If you were a military veteran, you would need to submit records showing previous history and still complete required training hours. But don’t worry, because in Wisconsin, you only need to finish 16 hours. 

Once done, submit the following documents, together with your training certification:

  • Service school academic reports
  • Training document with a signature from your previous unit’s officer
  • A written narrative documenting your military training, education, and experience that can qualify you as a nurse assistant

And lastly, you need to pass the competency test (both written and skills demonstration) on your first try. 

Does Wisconsin allow reciprocity for out-of-state CNAs?

Yes, Wisconsin allows reciprocity, but you still need to render 75 hours of training, including 16 hours of clinical work.


So there you have it: five easy steps to help you on how to become a CNA in Wisconsin, a state with many doors open for this profession. 

We hope this article helped you on your journey to becoming a CNA. Now, all that’s left to do is begin! 

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