Nurse Aide Program: Becoming a CNA in Wisconsin

We include every CNA (certified nurse aide) in our state on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry. This meets state and federal regulations. We include a nurse aide in the registry after they successfully complete both:

  1. A nurse aide training program, or basic nursing course for professional nurses or licensed practical nurses.
  2. A competency evaluation program.

The state of Wisconsin must approve both programs.

A person can transfer from another state registry if that person meets all requirements of the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry.

We provide links to forms and other materials below. Email any required materials to widqa_natcep@dhs.wisconsin.gov.

Become a CNA in Wisconsin

Thank you for your interest in working as a nurse aide in Wisconsin. We're here to help you get started and maintain your eligibility. Contact us if you have questions.

Find the scenario below that applies to you and follow the steps.

I'm a new student or would like to find a training program.

I'm a student nurse.

I'm a graduate nurse who hasn't taken the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN.

You must pass the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) to work as an RN (registered nurse) or LPN (licensed practical nurse).

I'm a graduate nurse who hasn't passed the NCLEX-RN or NCLEX-PN.

You must pass the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Examination) to work as an RN or LPN.

I'm a currently a practicing RN or LPN.

I'm a military veteran.

  • Complete military training, education, and experience that satisfies all nurse aide training requirements.
  • Complete at least 16 hours of hands-on clinical experience as described in the Nurse Aide Testing Requirements for Military Personnel, P-00225A (PDF).
  • Submit Military Training Verification, F-00657.
  • Submit:
    • Service school academic reports.
    • Certificates of training for specific programs completed.
    • Training document signed by your unit's training non-commissioned officer.
    • A written narrative explaining how your military education, training, and experience has prepared you to be a nurse aide.
  • Pass the competency exam on the first attempt, including a written knowledge test and a skill test.

I trained as a nurse aide in another state, and I'm active and in good standing.

If you're a candidate from another state, you can apply to work as a nurse aide in Wisconsin. You must have completed a state-approved training program of 75 hours, including 16 hours of clinical work.

Also, you must have passed a nurse aide competency exam within one year of completing your training. This exam must be the same or substantially similar to the Wisconsin competency exam. If this applies to you, follow these steps:

  • Complete the Wisconsin Nurse Aid Registry–Out of State Registry Application (PDF).
  • Submit a copy of your diploma from the training program.
  • Send us these documents by mail. Don't send them by email since they contain personally identifiable information. Mail to:

    Wisconsin Department of Health Services
    Division of Quality Assurance
    Attn: Nurse Aide Training Consultant
    PO Box 2969
    Madison, WI 53701

  • You must retrain and test in Wisconsin if you have not completed a state-approved minimum 75-hour nurse aide training program.

I'm an out-of-state trained nurse aide who is inactive, but in good standing.

If you are a candidate from another state, but not active on another registry, you can apply to work as a nurse aide in Wisconsin. You will need to either renew your state's registry status or complete competency testing in Wisconsin. To apply to test, you must have completed a state-approved training program of 75 hours, including 16 hours of clinical work and have passed a nurse aide competency exam within one year of completing your training. This exam must be the same or substantially similar to the Wisconsin competency exam. If this applies to you, follow these steps:

  • Complete the Wisconsin Nurse Aid Registry—Out of State Registry Application (PDF).
  • Submit a copy of your diploma from the training program.
  • Send us these documents by mail. Don't send them by email since they contain personally identifiable information. Mail to:

    Wisconsin Department of Health Services
    Division of Quality Assurance
    Attn: Nurse Aide Training Consultant
    PO Box 2969
    Madison, WI 53701

  • You must retrain and test in Wisconsin if you have not completed a state-approved minimum 75-hour nurse aide training program.

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Last Revised: August 3, 2022