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Japan to adjust structure of care worker exam, easing path to success

April 04, 2024

Original Article:

A welfare ministry panel has proposed a so-called partial pass program for the certified care worker examination, to expand test-taking opportunities for working people amid a shortage of nursing care workers, it has been learned.
Under the program, those who failed in the national exam but received passing scores for certain sections of the test will be exempted from retaking those sections in future exams.

The ministry plans to introduce the program from the test for fiscal 2025 at the earliest.

The need for certified care workers, who play a central role in nursing care, is increasing amid societal aging.

However, opportunities for taking the annual exam are limited, as more than 80% of applicants are workers in the nursing care field and foreign talent, such as those with a specified skills-related visa status, have restrictions on how long they can stay in Japan.

The panel proposal calls for grouping the 13 subjects in the written exam, such as basic nursing care and medical care, into two or three sections and giving results for each section.

The exam will continue to have a passing threshold for the total score across all subjects, and test-takers will be able to decide whether to use the partial exemption.

Following the proposal, the welfare ministry plans to establish a new panel in fiscal 2024 to discuss how to group the exam subjects and how to set thresholds for passing scores.

Care worker certification is the only national qualification in the nursing care field. Care workers provide help in activities such as bathing and eating to elderly people and those with disabilities who have difficulty leading their daily lives.

People can acquire the certification by taking the exam after graduating from a training facility such as a university, junior college or vocational school, or after working for more than three years in the field.


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