Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

For Students (39)

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When will I receive my test results? How?

Official Illinois Nurse Assistant/Aide Competency Examination (INACE) results will be available on the Health Care Worker Registry (HCW) approximately two weeks after testing. Registry status may be verified through the HCW Registry website at If you go to the website,, in the middle of that page, you will see “Search the Health Care Worker Registry”, where you will be prompted to enter your name (enter last name, first name, — NO middle name or middle initial). Once you enter your name and click search, your name will appear on a separate page. At the end of your name will be a square icon of a silhouette of a person with a magnifying glass. Click on that icon, and another page will open up with your name and other information. At the bottom of that page, you will see the word Competency, and after that will be the date of the test and either an F1, 2 or 3, NS, or P. F = fail, NS = no show, P = Pass. You may print that page out as verification for any employer that wants to know your result of the exam.

If you fail or no show, you may login and reschedule your test.

Can I call the Nurse Aide Testing Office and get my test results by phone?
Illinois Department of Public Health guidelines and the Privacy Act of 1974 as Amended forbids the Nurse Aide Testing Project from releasing by phone, fax or e-mail any personal information regarding an applicant for the nurse aide examination.
How do I get a copy of my results?
The Illinois Department of Public Health-Health Care Worker Registry provides online access to information regarding nurse aide’s status. Illinois state law requires employers of nurse aides to verify a nurse aide’s status through the Health Care Worker Registry and they are NOT to accept any other documentation as proof of test result or eligibility.
What is the score I must receive in order to pass the exam?
The Illinois Nurse Aide Competency Exam is a pass/fail exam. The cut-off score for the pass/fail result is information that cannot be released according to the agreement between the Illinois Department of Public Health and Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
I need my official results letter so I can apply for a job. What should I do?
An employer is required by state law to contact the Illinois Department of Public Health, Health Care Worker Registry in order to verify a nurse aide’s status on the Health Care Worker Registry. You may print your HCW Registry profile page as verification for any employer that wants to know your result of the exam. There are no CNA certificate numbers for the State of Illinois. If you are completing a general application form that asks for your certificate number, enter not-applicable (N/A) and attach a print out of your Registry verification page.


English isn’t my primary speaking language. Is an exam version available in my native language?

English as a second language is not considered by the Illinois Department of Public Health to be a disability under which special accommodations may be made for testing. 

I received accommodations in my training due to a disability. Are testing accommodations available to me for the Nurse Aide Competency Exam?

A written request for specific testing accommodations from a qualified disability support person along with documentation of a learning disability (Individualized Education Plan) are needed in order to provide accommodations for testing due to a learning disability. This information should be provided to the Nurse Aide Testing Project at least 30 days prior to the desired testing date. If a student requires testing accommodations that cannot be achieved by computer-based testing, the student must contact our office immediately.

If a student requires accommodations specifically referencing paper-based testing, the student must contact the Nurse Aide Testing office at (618) 453 – 4368 or by email at



Who may take the Nurse Aide Competency Exam?

An individual who has completed an approved nurse aide training program and has met all other requirements of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Health Care Worker Registry may take the competency exam. Those individuals placed on the Health Care Worker Registry based on reciprocity from another state are not required to take the Illinois written competency test. See additional information on our website at: Also, aides approved on the ILLINOIS HEALTH CARE WORKER REGISTRY PRIOR TO January 1, 1990, are NOT required or permitted to take this test.

It has been more than 2 years since I have worked as a nurse aide. Do I have to take the training program over again?

If a nurse aide is in good standing with no findings of abuse, neglect or theft and has not worked for pay in the nursing-related services for 24 consecutive months or more, the nurse aide may be able to re-certify by manual skills testing and competency testing only. Check out the following link on this website for re-certification information:

I am a nursing student and want to work as a CNA while I go to school. Can I just take the exam?
Current nursing students who wish to take the Nurse Aide Examination must meet specified criteria in order to be submitted for approval. Check out the following link on this website for Fundamentals of Nursing student competency testing:
I missed my scheduled exam. Can I reschedule?
Individuals who “No Show” for a scheduled exam may use their INACE login ID and password to access his/her account where a future testing seat may be purchased according to the current fee schedule for the next available testing cycle.
I have a conviction on my record. Will I be able to take the test and be listed as a certified CNA?
Any questions regarding your criminal background should be directed to the Registry staff at 217-785-5133, or via email at: Healthcare Worker Registry
How many times can I fail the test before I have to re-train?
A nurse aide may take and fail the examination three times before he/she is required to retrain. All three tests must occur within 12 months of the program completion date. After the 12 month eligibility period, a student would need to complete a new training program before becoming eligible to test again.
Where can I find out more about Illinois’ CNA requirements?
Please visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website at


What are the most common issues with student account creation?
If a student attempts to create an account and is unable, there are a few reasons why. 1) They did not receive an email due to an email address entered incorrectly, or the email went into the spam or junk folder; 2) the Social Security Number is incorrect; or 3) the Date of Birth is incorrect.

When a student is creating account, they enter their email address, SSN and DOB to verify their eligibility. The student will then enter their email address in the same way and it should match up. It is case specific. The use of a student’s personal email address as opposed to a school email address is important as, when a student finishes school, their school email may be deactivated which causes a student to not be able to access it once they are done.

If a student’s information is entered incorrectly, the only solution is for the student to contact the program coordinator to have their correct information entered on a new roster and submitted so the student will receive an email and then be able to create their account. The NAT office cannot create their account for them if the wrong information is entered.

How do I reach the Illinois Department of Public Health?
The Illinois Department of Public Health, Health Care Worker Registry’s web address is Verification must ONLY be done by an aide’s social security number.
When will I receive my nurse aide license or certificate? Where do I find my license number?

Certified Nursing Assistants are NOT issued a license, card or credential of any kind by the Illinois Department of Public Health. The nurse aide certification/registry number is the aide’s social security number. Approximately two weeks after testing, test result information is available on the Illinois Department of Public Health, Health Care Worker Registry at Enter your name and verify with your social security number. The individual’s information is provided by computer system. This printable page verifies your Illinois Nurse Aide Registry status.

Why must I take a competency exam?
The number of elderly people has rapidly increased and so has America’s concern for quality care of the elderly people residing in long-term care facilities across the United States. The passage of the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1987 (OBRA) mandated that all states establish nurse aide training and competency evaluation programs by January 1, 1990. The Act established a registry of nurse aides who have passed both a certified training program and a competency exam, deeming them competent and able to work as nurse aides in long-term care facilities.
This Act requires anyone desiring to work as a nurse aide in a long-term care facility to pass a state certified nurse aide training program and a state competency evaluation exam. Nurse aides must have their names entered on that state’s nurse aide registry to be employed in that state as a nurse aide. The primary purpose of the competency exam is to ensure that individuals have the basic knowledge and skills needed to perform the skills required of a nurse aide.
When will I receive notification that that I have been scheduled to test?

When you purchase a seat for testing you are given a receipt for payment that contains your test schedule information. You may also use your INACE login ID and password to sign in to your account at any time and verify your test schedule. You should arrive at least 30 minutes before the stated testing time and bring a picture identification, which contains a current photo and your signature (i.e. Illinois driver’s license or Illinois State ID or a Student ID) and two number 2 lead pencils. You will be required to use your login ID and password to sign in to the exam. Failure to have this information will result in your being dismissed from the testing area. You would then need to purchase a future test seat in order to complete your exam.

What content is covered on the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation Exam?
The skills, knowledge, and abilities needed to perform the job of a nurse aide are the areas covered by the competency evaluation exam. The nurse aide job consists of various tasks. Each task has been analyzed and evaluated by nurse aides and their supervisors. Tasks which nurse aides perform on the job were validated in the state of Illinois in January 2017. The validated 200 tasks were grouped into six broad duty areas. The duty areas include:

  • Duty A: Communicating Information – 31 tasks
  • Duty B: Performing Basic Nursing Skills – 59 tasks
  • Duty C: Performing Personal Care Skills – 43 tasks
  • Duty D: Performing Basic Restorative Skills – 42 tasks
  • Duty E: Providing Mental Health and Social Service Needs – 11 tasks
  • Duty F: Providing Residents’ Rights – 14 tasks
How is a passing score on the Nurse Aide Competency Exam determined?
The Nurse Aide Competency Exam is overseen by a state agency. That agency establishes and governs the rules, regulations and procedures based on federal and state mandates. An advisory committee made up of nurse aides, home health care aides, supervisors, instructors, and state health care personnel establish passing scores.
When and where may I take the Nurse Aide Competency Exam?

The Nurse Aide Competency Exam is scheduled at various test sites across the state on designated dates. The test fee information is available here.

To find test administrations in your area, please log into your INACE account. 

What materials may I bring when I take the Nurse Aide Competency Exam?

The examinee must bring a photo ID that contains a current picture of the individual and their signature, such as a driver’s license, state ID or student ID. State ID’s can be obtained from a local driver’s examination station. Applicants MAY NOT bring notes, paper, books or other instructional aides to the exam. No electronic devices such as cell phones, e-notebooks, smart watches or other devices which provide internet access or communication are allowed on your person during a test administration. If you are discovered with such a device, your test will be marked “FAILED” and you will be instructed to leave the exam.

Should I guess on the Nurse Aide Competency Exam?
Yes! Typically, a competency exam requires the test taker to answer all of the questions on the exam. The exam score is based on the number of questions answered correctly. Blank answers are automatically counted as incorrect and will lower the test taker’s score. In Illinois, there is no penalty for guessing on the Nurse Aide Competency Exam. It is an advantage to fill in an answer for each question. Try to eliminate choices you know are incorrect to help increase your odds to guess correctly.
How can I prepare for the Nurse Aide Competency Exam?
The most effective way to prepare for your competency exam is to:

  • identify the tasks (jobs) that nurse aides perform on the job.
  • review important facts and information associated with skills required to perform those tasks.
  • practice doing the task.
    (Repetition increases your skill and what you remember about the task.)
  • study in small groups.
    (Another person may be able to share information you did not know, explain a concept or procedure that is unclear, and reinforce information you already know.)
  • take a timed practice exam.
    (A timed practice exam can help examinees learn how to pace themselves so they can use time efficiently to complete the exam. A practice exam also familiarizes the examinee with the types of questions expected on an exam.)
  • review explanations of correct answers.
    (May provide new facts and help understand new information, aid in applying information already known, reinforce current knowledge, increase confidence and reduce anxiety about taking the exam.)