Nurse Aide Program: FAQs about the Nurse Aide Registry

Nurse aides perform important work. We want to make sure you remain eligible to work as a nurse aide. Our goal is to provide all the information you need about our registry services and working as a nurse aide.

Wisconsin TestMaster Universe (TMU) houses our Nurse Aide Testing and Registry system. Headmaster hosts the registry.

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FAQs (frequently asked questions)

Can I work in a nursing home before my name is listed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry?

Yes, you're allowed to work if you're currently enrolled in an approved nurse aide training program. You can provide direct nursing-related duties for up to four months from the start of your employment in a nursing home. You're allowed to work if you:

  • Are a full-time employee.
  • Have been trained and found proficient by the instructor on the skill being performed.
  • Are under the general supervision of a RN (registered nurse) or LPN (licensed practical nurse).

You must pass a nurse aide competency exam within 120 days of the start of your full-time employment as a nurse aide.

Who do I contact about my registry status?

To learn about nurse aide registry services in Wisconsin, refer to Nurse Aide Training and Registry. View the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry on the Headmaster website. You also may contact:

Ohio Office
P.O. Box 418
Findlay, OH 45839-0418

Phone: 888-401-0462
Fax: 419-422-7395

Hours of operation: Monday—Friday 7:00 a.m.—5:00 p.m. CST
Saturday 7:00 a.m.—1:00 p.m. CST

Montana Office
P.O. Box 6609
Helena Montana 59604

Phone: 888-401-0462

Hours of operation: 9:00 a.m.—7:00 p.m. CST

How do I verify a nurse aide's status on the registry?

Check the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry on TMU. You can search by name, Social Security number, or registration number. The registry lists these details about each aide:

  • Name
  • Inclusion date
  • Expiration date for verifying eligibility to work in federally certified facilities
  • Basis for inclusion
  • Facilities where the aide is eligible to work
  • Substantiated finding information (abuse or neglect of a client, or misappropriation of a client's property) if any

How do I change my address on the registry?

Log in to your account on TMU to update your address.

How do I change my name or correct my Social Security number on the registry?

To change or correct your name or Social Security number, contact Headmaster through TMU. Include official documents that verify the change. Headmaster will update your registry record to reflect the new information. Find more details in the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Candidate Handbook (PDF) .

Call Headmaster toll-free at 888-401-0465 with any questions.

How can I replace my nurse aide card?

Wisconsin no longer issues nurse aide cards. To verify your status on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry, log in to your account on TMU.

When does my work eligibility expire?

The date you pass the competency test begins your 24-month work eligibility period. A new eligibility period begins every 24 months. To remain eligible for work as a nurse aide, federal regulations require that you:

  • Work at least eight hours in a 24-month period.
  • Provide hands-on care in a paid position.
  • Be under the supervision of an RN or LPN.

Your registry status shows the 24-month period you are eligible to work. The work must occur in one of these settings:

  • Federally certified (Medicare and/or Medicaid certified) nursing home
  • Hospice
  • Home health agency
  • Intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities
  • State-licensed hospital
  • Facility for people with developmental disabilities
  • Rural medical center that provides one or more of these services

How do I renew my eligibility to work in federally certified facilities?

About 60 days before your eligibility period ends, Headmaster will send you a reminder to renew. Headmaster will send a reminder to your email address on record and/or a text to your cell phone. Your phone must be able to receive SMS (short message services) to get text reminders. It is important to keep your contact information up to date in your TMU profile.

Your renewal will allow you to continue working in federally certified:

  • Nursing homes.
  • Intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
  • Home health agencies.
  • Hospices.

To begin the renewal process, log in to your account on TMU. You can begin the process within 60 days of your eligibility period ending. List your work experience over the previous 24 months. You must verify working for pay as a nurse aide at least eight hours in that 24-month period. An RN or LPN must supervise your work.

Headmaster will send your employer(s) an email with a link to verify your work. Once verified, your federal eligibility will extend 24 more months on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry.

Keep your email address and phone number up to date on your TMU account. This will ensure you are notified that it's time to renew.

In the past, employers submitted renewal forms in a mass mailing with other nurse aides. However, you now submit renewals for yourself by following the steps outlined above.

Call Headmaster toll-free at 888-401-0465 with questions.

Can I still work if my federal certification lapses?

Yes, but not in a federally certified facility. Nurse aids listed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry have two eligibilities: federal and state.

You must maintain your federal eligibility to work in any Medicare and/or Medicaid certified nursing home, home health agency, or hospice. If you don't maintain your federal eligibility, you can retain your status as a nurse aide. This allows you to work in:

  • Hospitals, including critical access hospitals.
  • Facilities that aren't certified as Medicaid providers.

Does working in an assisted living facility renew my federal nurse aide eligibility?

It depends. For your work in an assisted living facility to renew your federal eligibility:

  • The facility must employ a licensed nurse (RN or LPN).
  • The nurse must supervise your work.
  • You must have performed at least eight hours of nursing or nursing-related duties in the previous two years.

Your employer may request a waiver form to extend your federal eligibility if:

  • You believe the facility you work in meets these requirements.
  • Your federal nurse aide eligibility expired on or after September 1, 2018.
  • Your federal nurse aide eligibility is expiring within the next 90 days.

As a nurse aide, you cannot request a waiver. Someone at the licensed facility, such as human resource personnel, must submit the request. If your employer has questions about this process, details are available in Nurse Aide State and Federal Employment Eligibility, P-02393 (PDF).

Facilities must by regulated by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) or the Division of Quality Assurance to apply for a waiver request. Working in a school or physician's clinic, for example, won't make you eligible to renew. These facilities cannot request a waiver for you.

My work eligibility expired. Can I still work as a nurse aide?

Yes. If you've worked as a nurse aide for 24 months or more, log in to your TMU account. List your work experience from the previous 24 months. You must verify you've worked at least eight hours in that 24-month period as a nurse aide, for pay, under the supervision of an RN or LPN.

The TMU system sends an email to the employer(s) you listed. The email will include a link to verify your work. When the employer verifies your work, your federal eligibility will be updated on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry for an additional 24 months.

I haven't worked as a nurse aide in a federally certified facility in the last 24 months.

If you haven't worked for pay as a nurse aide in a federally certified facility under the supervision of a RN or LPN for more than 24 months, you aren't eligible to work in federally certified:

  • Nursing homes.
  • Intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities.
  • Home health agencies.
  • Hospices.

To become eligible again to work in these federally certified facilities, you must retake and successfully pass a competency test. In the meantime, you may continue to work in:

  • Hospitals, including critical access hospitals.
  • Facilities that aren't certified as Medicaid providers.

My certification (or my spouse's) lapsed while I was deployed by the military.

Wisconsin law extends the certification of a service member while on active duty. If your certification period ends while on active duty, your certification will extend for 180 days. This extension begins when you're discharged from active duty.

The same is true for the spouse of a service member. This 180-day extension applies if the spouse does not practice under their certification, and it lapses while the service member is on active duty.

This law is defined in 2011 Wisconsin Act 210. It repeals prior law that allowed a 90-day extension. Prior law also required a service person to meet all requirements, except continuing education, for an extension or renewal.

To request an extension, complete and submit Nurse Aide Training Program: Military Training Verification, F-00657.

For more information on military licensure benefits, visit the Wisconsin Department of Veteran's Affairs website.

How soon will my eligibility be updated after I submit information in TMU?

TMU updates your registry status as soon as the employer approves your work status. They must verify that you've worked at least eight hours in that 24-month period as a nurse aide, for pay, under the supervision of an RN or LPN.

To verify your work eligibility:

  • Check the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry on TMU.
  • Call Headmaster toll-free at 888-401-0465.

I submitted my renewal information, but the registry hasn't been updated yet. Can I still work as a nurse aide in a federally certified facility?

Yes. A federally certified health care facility may continue to employ you as a nurse aide. This applies if they have verified you worked at least eight hours in the past 24 months. You must have worked for pay, providing hands-on care under the supervision of an RN or LPN.

If you have questions, call Headmaster toll-free at 888-401-0465.

How do I transfer from the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry to another state's registry?

To transfer your listing on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry to another state's nurse aide registry, complete these steps:

  1. Make sure your eligibility status to work in federally certified facilities is current on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry on TMU.
  2. Contact the new state's registry to learn that state's requirements.
  3. Complete that state's application, following directions from the state where you wish to transfer.

We stopped manually processing reciprocity/endorsement forms on June 1, 2020. Headmaster serves as the primary source to verify your work eligibility.

Your record on TMU will show your training and testing details. It also shows your:

  • Initial date of placement on the registry.
  • Federal eligibility expiration date.
  • Substantiated finding information (abuse or neglect of a client, or misappropriation of a client's property) if any.

If you have specific questions about your work eligibility status, email us at widqa_natcep@wisconsin.gov.

I was "Grandparented" onto my home state's registry. Will my certification transfer to the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry?

No. On January 1, 2000, we stopped placing individuals on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry under the "Grandparent" program. The program allowed past work experience to replace training and testing.

To be placed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry, you must complete nurse aide training and/or pass a competency test.

Last Revised: July 27, 2022