HHSC Allows CNA Applicants to Apply Pandemic Work Experience Toward Certification

News Release
Texas Health and Human Services Commission
Cecile Erwin Young
HHS Executive Commissioner
May 19, 2021
Danielle Pestrikoff, 512-424-6951

AUSTIN – The Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) is issuing new rules allowing nurse aide applicants to apply on-the-job work experience during the COVID-19 public health emergency to the 100-hour training requirement for certification.

“Certified nurse aides in training have contributed immensely to nursing facilities across the state during these challenging times,” said David Kostroun, HHSC deputy executive commissioner for Regulatory Services. “We’re offering this flexibility to help address staffing challenges in long-term care settings and provide stability to this critically important workforce.”

Certified nurse aides (CNAs) are health care professionals who provide direct care services such as grooming, dressing, and assistance with other activities of daily living to residents in facilities statewide.

On the job training is being accepted because under a federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) waiver and the state’s suspension of certain rules due to COVID-19, Texas nursing facilities have employed and trained staff who are not yet certified to perform nurse aide tasks. These staff must be properly supervised by a nurse and demonstrate competency to perform all tasks.

To improve staffing shortages at nursing facilities, the new rules allow staff who completed on-site work experience in direct care services to count this experience toward the training requirement of the Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation Program (NATCEP) to become certified. Once the federal waiver has expired, each nurse aide candidate will have four months to successfully complete the required written, oral, and skills NATCEP examinations. All CNAs must undergo a criminal background check before becoming certified and being placed on the state’s Nurse Aide Registry.

The rules apply to nurse aids in training who completed on the job training during the COVID-19 public health emergency, versus the traditional route to fulfill the requirement of 100 hours of clinical training in a healthcare setting. The traditional route to certification is still accepted.

Information about nurse aide training is available on the HHS website. More information about requirements for providers is available here. Texas residents can dial 2-1-1 to learn about programs and services.