Nurse Aide Registry: Frequently Asked Questions

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) has one state-administered competency test as allowed under federal law, to ensure a neutral and objective nurse aide testing process. DHS contracts with Headmaster to deliver Wisconsin's Nurse Aide Registry services.

The DHS liaison with Headmaster 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 frequently asked questions related to nurse aides and registry services.

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

A nurse aide student currently enrolled in an approved nurse aide training program may be permitted to provide direct nursing related duties for up to 120 calendar days from the start of training, as long as the person:

  • Is a full-time employee,
  • Has been trained and found proficient by the instructor on the skill being performed, and
  • Is under the general supervision of a RN or LPN.

If you fail the competency test, you cannot provide direct, hands-on care until you successfully pass the retake test.

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

To learn information about nurse aide registry services in Wisconsin, refer to DHS Nurse Aide Training and Registry Information or the Headmaster Wisconsin NA Registry website. You may also contact Headmaster at:   

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

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

You can check using the online Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry.

You can search by name, social security number or registration number. The registry displays the aide's:

  • 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, 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, an address change, or correct my name or SSN on the Registry?

An address change can be updated by logging into your TMU account and making the change. Changes or corrections to your name or a correction to your SSN will require that you submit the completed digital form with appropriate verification documentation to Headmaster through your account on TMU. Your registry record will be updated to reflect any reported name or SSN change.

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

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

Wisconsin does not issue nurse aide cards. Verification of your status on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry can be obtained by logging onto TMU.

6. When is my employment eligibility expiration date?

The 24-month employment eligibility period is initially based on the successful completion of your competency test date. A new eligibility period is created every 24 months. To maintain eligibility to work in a federally certified nursing home, intermediate care facility for individuals with intellectual disabilities, home health agency and hospice, federal regulations require a nurse aide to:

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

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

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

Headmaster will notify you via email and/or text message approximately 60 days prior to the end of your 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 receive your renewal notification you must log into your TMU account and list your work experience in the previous 24-months verifying that you worked at least 8 hours in that 24-month period as a nurse aide, for pay, under the supervision of an RN or LPN. An email verification link will be forwarded to the listed employer. When the employer verifies your listed work experience, your federal eligibility will be extended an additional 24 months on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry.

It is important to keep your email address and/or phone number up-to-date on your TMU account so you will receive prompt notification of your eligibility renewal.

If you do not receive a renewal notice in the mail 30 days prior to end of your 24-month eligibility period, call Headmaster toll-free at 888-401-0465 or login to TMU and list your work experience to start the renewal process.

8. What happens if my federal certification lapses?  Am I still able to work?

When an individual is placed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry, they are given two eligibilities: Federal and State. Federal eligibility must be maintained to work in any Medicare and/or Medicaid certified nursing home, home health agency or hospice.
 
If a nurse aide does not maintain their federal eligibility, they always retain their status as a nurse aide and they may work in hospitals, including critical access hospitals, and facilities that are not certified as Medicaid providers, including nursing homes, facilities that serve individuals with intellectual disabilities, home health agencies and hospices as well as assisted living facilities.

9.  I work in an assisted living facility. Will this employment renew my federal nurse aide eligibility?

No. The federal nurse aide training requirements specify that in order to renew one's federal eligibility to work in a federally certified skilled long-term care facility, an individual must perform nurse aide duties for pay under the supervision of an RN or LPN in a skilled setting.

Individuals working as a nurse aide in skilled settings must be listed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry per Wis. Stat. § 146.40.  This requirement does not extend to assisted living facilities.

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

No, the nurse aide will be responsible for reporting their employment to the registry. When you receive your renewal notice, it is very important to login to your TMU account and list your work hours and where you were employed. An email verification link will be forwarded to the listed employer. When the employer verifies your listed work experience, your federal eligibility will be extended an additional 24 months on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry.

11. 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 for 24 months or more without a break, you must log into your TMU account and list your work experience in the previous 24 months verifying that you have worked at least 8 hours in that 24 month period as a nurse aide, for pay, under the supervision of an RN or LPN. An email verification link will be forwarded to the listed employer. When the employer verifies your listed work experience, your federal eligibility will be updated on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry for an additional 24 months. 

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

If you have not worked as a nurse aide in a federally certified facility 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, facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, home health agencies, or hospices.

13. 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.

The Military Training Verification, F-00657 (PDF) is available on the DHS Nurse Aide Training and Registry webpage and on the Headmaster website.

If you have any questions, contact the Office of Caregiver Quality at 608-261-8319.

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

14. How long will it take for my employment eligibility to be updated after submit my information in TMU?

Your registry status will be updated as soon as the employer has verified that you have 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 employment eligibility:

15. I submitted my renewal information but my record on the Registry has not been updated yet. Can I still work as a nurse aide in a federally certified facility?

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

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

16. 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. To apply for placement on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry, you must complete an Out-of-State Application.

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, and you have successfully passed a nurse aide competency exam that is the same or substantially similar to the Wisconsin competency examination, your name will be placed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry. You must have a valid email address in order to receive a username and temporary password. Once you have received your username and password you must log into TMU to complete the transfer process.
  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, and you successfully completed a nurse aide competency exam but the exam is not the same or substantially similar to the Wisconsin competency examination, you will be required to successfully complete the Wisconsin examination. You must have a valid email address in order to receive a username and temporary password. Once you have received your username and password you must log into TMU to select a test event and location of your choice. Upon passing the applicable exam, your name will be placed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry.
  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, but you have not tested and are within a year of completing your training program, you will be required to successfully complete the Wisconsin competency examination. You must have a valid email address in order to receive a username and temporary password. Once you have received your username and password you must log into TMU to select a test event and location of your choice. Upon passing the knowledge and skills exams, your name will be placed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry.

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, you have not tested, and are past one year of completing your training program, you will be denied and required to successfully complete an approved DHS training program and successfully complete the Wisconsin competency examination.

  1. If you are a nurse aide candidate from another state who has completed a training program of less than 120 hours, but at a minimum, 75 hours 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 that must be completed by your employer(s). The completed, notarized forms must be returned to DHS at the address below in order to proceed with your application:

Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Office of Caregiver Quality
PO Box 2969
Madison, WI 53701-2969

If you wish to expedite the process, once the forms are completed and notarized, you may attach an image to your TMU record. 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, your name may be placed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry. You must have a valid email address in order to receive a username and temporary password. Once you have received your username and password, you must log into TMU to complete the transfer process.

  1. If you are a nurse aide candidate from another state who has completed a training program of less than 120 hours, but at a minimum, 75 hours you can opt to take an approved 45-hour Bridge Program class and upon passing the knowledge and skills exams, your name will be placed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry. You may view a list of Approved Bridge Nurse Aide Training Programs.
  1. If you are a nurse aide candidate from another state who has completed a training program of less than 120 hours, but at a minimum, 75 hours, and you 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 must have a valid email address in order to receive a username and temporary password. Once you have received your username and password you must log into TMU to selecct a test event and location of your choosing. Upon passing both the knowledge and skills exams your name will be placed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry.
  1. If you are a nurse aide candidate from another state who has completed a training program of less than 120 hours, but at a minimum, 75 hours, and you have been employed as a nurse aide for less than 2088 hours in the previous 24 months, you are eligible to enroll in a 45-hour bridge program. Once the 45-hour bridge program has been successfully completed, you will be eligible to take the Wisconsin competency exam. You must have a valid email address in order to receive a username and temporary password. Once you have received your username and password you must log into TMU to complete the transfer process and receive your approval to enroll in a 45-hour bridge program.

Out-of-State Eligibility – Inactive Certification

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 pass the Wisconsin competency exam 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. 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.

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.

Use the online Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry to verify your name has been added.

If you have questions regarding your out-of-state registry status, please contact the Office of Caregiver Quality at 608-261-8319.

17. 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.

18. 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. See Wisconsin Nurse Aide Training Program-Out of State Training Requirements, P-00687 (PDF).

Last Revised: September 21, 2018