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Become a CNA in South Carolina

Steps to become a CNA in South Carolina

CNAs in South Carolina can apply to take the national certification exam for certified nurse aides, which are offered by the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP). Successful completion of this exam results in certification and listing in the South Carolina Nurse Aide Registry. The exam is developed and scored by PearsonVue, and scheduled and administered by the Nurse Aide Competency Evaluation Service (NACES) at a number of regional locations.


The exam is given in two parts: a written exam consisting of 70 questions, and a skills evaluation in which nurses are asked to perform five (5) random nursing aide-related skills in 25 minutes. Completion of four of those tasks is considered a passing grade on the evaluation.

Newly trained CNAs in South Carolina can receive their certification if they have completed a state-approved nurse aide training program and passed the NNAAP Exam. Aides who are transferring in from another state must show proof of completion from a state-approved nurse aide training program and test scores.

Applicants for the examination must fill out an “Application for Registration by Competency Exam” form using one of six eligibility routes:

  • E1 – Aides trained in South Carolina.
  • E2 – Aides trained out-of-state.
  • E3 – Aides with lapsed or expired certification.
  • E4 – Student nurse candidates (RN and LPN students can get nurse aide certification if they have completed a specific number of courses before application).
  • E5 – LPN or RN graduates.
  • E6 – Military training as a nurse aide.

To apply for the NNAAP exam, nurse aides must submit:

  1. The application
  2. A certified check or money order for $101 ($30 for written exam and $71 for the skills evaluation).
  3. A certificate of completion from the training program, or a letter stating that the program was completed.

NOTE: Nursing homes in South Carolina that participate in Medicare and Medicaid MUST pay the examination fees for nurse aides in their employ.


Once NACES has received all application materials, they will issue an “Authorization to Test” Notice within 48 hours.
CNA certification runs on a two-year cycle, and nurse aides must clock at least 8 hours of paid employment during each two-year license period to be eligible for renewal. There is no continuing education requirement for renewal, and the fee for license renewal in South Carolina is $28.

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