Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry Frequently Asked Questions

The Department of Health Services has one state-administered competency test as allowed under federal law, to ensure a neutral and objective nurse aide testing process.

The Department contracts with Pearson VUE to deliver Wisconsin's Nurse Aide Registry services.

The DHS liaison with Pearson VUE and Credentia is the Office of Caregiver Quality:
Department of Health Services
Division of Quality Assurance
PO Box 2969
Madison, WI 53701-2969
608-261-8319

Listed below are list of frequently asked questions related to nurse aides.

1. Can I be employed by a nursing home prior to my name being placed on the WI Nurse Aide Registry? 

Federal regulations 42 CFR 483.35 allows a nursing home to employ an individual for up to 120 days without the individual being placed on the WI Nurse Aide Registry provided the following criteria are met:

  • Individuals must be a full-time employee.
  • Individuals cannot be counted in the staffing numbers.
  • Individuals require direct supervision, meaning an RN or LPN has to be immediately available to the individual.
  • Individuals cannot sign as a nurse aide. They must sign as a nurse aide student.
  • Individuals can only perform skills the nurse aide training instructor has verified the individual as being proficient.
  • The facility must maintain a copy of the individual’s most recent skills checklist.

The 120 day time frame begins the first day of the individual’s training program. In order for the individual to continue working as a nurse aide beyond the 120th day, the individual must be trained, successfully passed the competency test, and their name placed on the WI Nurse Aide Registry. If the individual takes and fails the competency test within the 120 days, they may not continue working as a nurse aide regardless of any days remaining within the 120 day time frame.

Important note: There is no federal or state requirement that a competency test date must be scheduled within the 120 day time frame. The Department contracts with Pearson VUE for nurse aide registry and testing services. Pearson VUE processes applications for competency testing in the order in which they are received. The individual is scheduled to test at the next available test date at the site of either their first, second or third choice as indicated on the Application for the Competency Examination (PDF) .  

An individual has up to one year from the completion of their training program in which to apply to test. To assist in timely scheduling of a test date and a higher success rate of passing the competency test, the individual should submit the completed Application for the Competency Examination (PDF) , the certificate of completion form from the training program and proper payment in the form of a credit card or money order as soon as the individual has completed the training program and receives their certificate of completion. Facilities who employ these individuals may submit materials on behalf of the individual to help ensure testing is completed within the 120 day time frame. 

2. Who do I contact about my Nurse Aide Registry status?

Pearson VUE
PO Box 13785
Philadelphia, PA 19101-3785
Phone: Toll-free 877-329-8760
Monday - Friday 7:00 am - 4:00 pm Central Standard Time
Online Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry

Note: Applications are not processed at the Department of Health Services and walk-in service is not available. However, if you have any questions about where to submit your paperwork, please call 608-261-8319 for assistance.

3. How do I verify a nurse aide's status on the Nurse Aide Registry?

You can check the online Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry

You can search by name, Social Security Number or Registration Number. The Registry displays the aide's:

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

4. How do I report my name or address change or correct my name or SSN on the Registry?

You may use the Change/Correction Form (PDF)

Submit the completed form with appropriate verification to the:

Pearson VUE
PO Box 13785
Philadelphia, PA 19101-3785

You may call Pearson VUE toll-free at  877-329-8760 to request the Change/Correction Form.

5. How do I get a replacement Nurse Aide card?

You may call the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry toll-free at 877-329-8760 to request a replacement Nurse Aide card.

6. Do I have to pay a fee to update my Nurse Aide Registry record or get a replacement nurse aide card?

No, all Nurse Aide Registry services are provided to you at no cost.

7. When is my employment eligibility expiration date?

Federal regulations require a nurse aide to:

  • work at least eight (8) hours in a 24-month period,
  • in a paid position providing hands-on care, and
  • under the supervision of an RN or LPN

to maintain eligibility to work in a federally certified nursing home, intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities, home health agency and hospice.

Your Registry Status reflects your 24-month eligibility period to work in the federally certified facilities noted above.

The 24-month period is initially based on your competency test date. A new eligibility period is created every 24 months.

Note: DHS changed the previous policy of extending employment eligibility 24 months from the last reported employment.

8. How do I update my employment eligibility to work in federally certified facilities?

Pearson VUE will mail a Renewal notice to your home address approximately 60 days prior to the end of you 24-month eligibility period to work in federally certified:

  • nursing homes,
  • intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities,
  • home health agencies, and
  • hospices.

When you submit your completed Renewal form, verifying that you worked at least eight (8) hours in a 24-month period as a nurse aide, for pay, under the supervision of an RN or LPN, your Registry status will be updated.

Be sure to report any address change to Pearson VUE, so you will receive the notice promptly.

If you do not receive a Renewal notice in the mail 30 days prior to end of your 24-month eligibility period, you may get the Registry Renewal Form (PDF) via http://www.pearsonvue.com

9. In the past, my employer submitted my Renewal Form to the Registry in a mass mailing with other nurse aides. Should they continue to do that?

You will receive a notice in the mail approximately 60 days prior to the end of your 24-month eligibility period, so there is no need for your employer to issue the Renewal form on your behalf.

When you receive the notice, it is very important to promptly:

  • Complete your personal information on the Renewal Form,
  • Have a representative from your employing health care facility sign the form to verify your work as a nurse aide was performed under the supervision of an RN or LPN, and
  • Submit the form to Pearson VUE.

Employment history reported on Renewal Forms submitted to Pearson VUE more than 120 days before a nurse aide's 24-month eligibility date will not be processed.

Your Registry record will be updated to reflect any reported name or address change.

10. What do I do if my employment eligibility has expired but I have been working as a nurse aide the whole time?

If you have worked as a nurse aide without a break of 24 months or more, you will need to submit a completed Renewal form, signed by your employer, to report your employment history.

When the Renewal form is processed, the Nurse Aide Registry will be updated to reflect your eligibility to work in federally certified facilities.

For example: Nancy did not send in her Renewal form at the end of her 24-month eligibility period.

Her Registry status currently displays she is not eligible to work in federally certified facilities after January 2012.

However, she did work at ABC Nursing Home from September 5, 2011 until April 20, 2013, and currently works at XYZ Nursing Home.

In order to update her Registry status, she needs to complete and submit 2 separate Renewal forms to verify her employment at both facilities.

11. What if I haven't worked as a nurse aide in the last 24 months?

If you have not worked as a nurse aide under the supervision of a RN or LPN, for pay, for more than 24 months, you are not eligible to work in federally certified:

  • nursing homes,
  • intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities,
  • home health agencies, or
  • hospices.

To regain eligibility to work in these federally certified facilities, you must retake and successfully pass a competency test.

You may continue to work in:

  • hospitals, including critical access hospitals and
  • facilities that are not certified as Medicaid providers, including nursing homes, nursing homes that serve the developmentally disabled, home health agencies, or hospices.

12. My or my spouse's certification lapsed while I was on a military deployment. How can I update my employment eligibility?

Wisconsin Act 210 went into effect on June 1, 2012. This Act extends the certification of a service member from 90 days to 180 days if the certification expires while they are on active duty. The same applies to a spouse of a service member if the spouse does not practice under their certification and their certification lapses while the service member is on active duty.

This Act repeals a provision of prior law that required a service member to meet all of the requirements for certification extension or renewal, except for continuing education requirements, in order to have the certification extended.

Please contact the Office of Caregiver Quality at 608-261-8319 or dhscaregiverintake@wi.gov to renew your certification.

For more information on Military Licensure Benefits, visit the Wisconsin Department of Veteran's Affairs website.

13. How long will it take for my employment eligibility to be updated after I send in my Renewal form?

Your Registry status will be updated approximately ten (10) working days after Pearson VUE receives the Renewal form.

To verify your employment eligibility:

14. I sent in my Renewal form but my record on the Registry has not been updated yet. Can I still work as a nurse aide in a federally certified facility?

You should keep a copy of your completed Renewal form and send it certified mail to Pearson VUE.

A federally certified health care facility may continue to employ you as a nurse aide if they have verified you worked at least eight (8) hours in the past 24 month period, in a paid position providing hands-on care, under the supervision of an RN or LPN.

To verify your Nurse Aide Registry status:

15. How do I transfer my status from another state's Nurse Aide Registry to the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry?

There are multiple methods by which you may be eligible for placement on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry via the Out-of-State registry process. Regardless of which method, you must be current and in good standing on a nurse aide registry in a state other than Wisconsin. Regardless of which method, you must be current and in good standing on a nurse aide registry in a state other than Wisconsin. To apply for placement on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry, you must complete an Out-of-State Application. You may obtain an Out-of-State Application (PDF) on Pearson VUE’s website or by calling Pearson VUE at 1-877-329-8760.

Eligibility Methods:

  1. If you are a nurse aide candidate from another state who has completed a training program of 120 hours which included 32 hours of clinical in that state and you have successfully passed a nurse aide competency exam that is the same or substantially similar to the Wisconsin competency examination, you will receive a Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry Card in the mail.
  1. If you are a nurse aide candidate from another state who has completed a training program of 120 hours which included 32 hours of clinical in that state and you have not successfully completed a nurse aide competency exam in that state that is the same or substantially similar to the Wisconsin examination, you will be required to successfully complete the Wisconsin examination. You will receive an authorization letter along with a Competency Evaluation Application which will allow you to schedule your examination.
  1. If you are a nurse aide candidate from another state who has completed a training program of 120 hours which included 32 hours of clinical in that state and you have not tested, you will be required to successfully complete the Wisconsin examination. You will receive an authorization letter along with a Competency Evaluation Application which will allow you to schedule your examination.
  1. If you are a nurse aide candidate from another state and have completed a training program less than 120 hours in that state and you have been employed as a nurse aide for a minimum of 2088 hours in the previous 24 months, you will receive Employment Verification forms to be completed by your employer(s). The completed, notarized forms must be returned in order to proceed with your application. If your employer(s) verify a minimum of 2088 hours of employment as a nurse aide, and you have successfully passed a nurse aide competency exam that is the same or substantially similar to the Wisconsin competency examination, you will receive a Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry Card in the mail.
  1. If you are a nurse aide candidate from another state and have completed a training program less than 120 hours in that state, have been employed as a nurse aide for a minimum of 2088 hours in the previous 24 months but have not successfully completed a nurse aide competency exam that is the same or substantially similar to the Wisconsin examination, you will be required to successfully complete the Wisconsin competency examination. You will receive an authorization letter along with a Competency Evaluation Application which will allow you to schedule testing for the Wisconsin competency examination.
  1. If you are a nurse aide candidate who has completed a training program of less than 120 hours in that state, and you have been employed as a nurse aide for less than 2088 hours in the previous 24 months, your Out-of-State Application will be denied. To be placed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry, you will be required to train and test in Wisconsin.
  1. If you are a nurse aide candidate who has not successfully completed a nurse aide competency exam  within one year from the date of the completion of your nurse aide training program your application will be denied.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Office of Caregiver Quality will process your application within 10 business days of our receipt. If you are eligible for placement on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry, you will receive a Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry Card within three weeks.

To verify if your name has been added to the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry, you check the online Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry.

If you have questions regarding your Out-of-State registry application, please contact the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Office of Caregiver Quality at 608-261-8319

If you do not receive a Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry Card within the three weeks, call Pearson VUE at 1-877-329-8760.

INACTIVE Nurse Aide On Another State’s Registry:

If you are a nurse aide currently listed on another state’s Registry, but have an INACTIVE status, and have completed an approved nurse aide training program of at least 120 hours with at least 32 hours of clinical training in another state, you must successfully take the NNAAP Examination in order to be eligible for placement on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry. To apply for placement on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry, you must complete an Out-of-State Application. You may obtain an Out-of-State Application (PDF) on Pearson VUE’s website or by calling Pearson VUE at 1-877-329-8760. It is recommended that all Out-of-State and reciprocity candidates apply as far in advance as possible, as multiple agencies must verify and process your application.

To verify if your name has been added to the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry, you check the online Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry.

If you have questions regarding your Out-of-State registry application, please contact the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Office of Caregiver Quality at 608-261-8319.

If you do not receive a Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry Card within the three weeks, call Pearson VUE at 1-877-329-8760.

Faxed copies of the application, certificate of completion, verification letter or copy of the current certification will not be accepted.

If you are transferring from another state, you must not provide "hands on" care in a facility in Wisconsin until you have been placed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry.

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

If you are listed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry and wish to be included on another state's nurse aide registry, you must complete the following steps:

  • Make sure your employment eligibility status to work in federally certified facilities is current on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry;
  • Contact the transferring state's registry and inquire about that state's requirements; and
  • Complete that state's application, following the directions from the state where you wish to transfer.

You may maintain employment eligibility to work in Wisconsin federally certified facilities by reporting your out-of-state employment to the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry.

Be sure to report your address change to the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry so you will receive your Renewal notice promptly.

17. I was “Grandparented” onto my home state‘s Registry. Will my certification transfer to the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry?

The intent of the “Grandparenting” program was to allow health care providers to be in compliance with federal and state regulations when employing individuals as nurse aides and to allow individuals working as nurse aides prior to January 1, 1991, to use work experience in lieu of completing a nurse aide training program prior to competency testing. On January 1, 2000, the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry stopped approving individuals for placement on the Registry under the Grandparenting procedure. All individuals wishing to be placed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry must complete a nurse aide training and/or competency test in order to be placed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry. See Wisconsin Nurse Aide Training Program-Out of State Training Requirements.

Last Revised: December 5, 2017