CNA Certification Information

Certified Nursing Assistants must have a current license with the Nursing Aid Registry in order to be employed by any institution in America.  Most state nursing boards will send you notification when it’s time to renew your license; however, it’s up to you to take the necessary steps to keep your license active.

Most states typically require CNAs to renew their license every two years in order to stay actively employed, but there are many different circumstances that can affect the status of your license. Here are some answers to some of the most frequently asked questions:

Note: These answers are NOT definitive. The rules may vary depending on your state. Make sure you check with your state nursing board, DOH or CNA registry for the most accurate information. The guide below is simply there to give you a general idea of the regulations.

For State Specific Info, Please Select Your State Below:

 

Can You Transfer Your CNA License to Another State?

CNAs can transfer their licenses to other states by following the reciprocity process. The first step is to contact the Nurses Aide Registry in your current state of employment and request an application for enrollment by reciprocity.

Complete the application and send it to the nurse’s aide registry of the state that you are moving to. Sometimes, the state that you are applying to needs the information, while other times it’s your home registry that will retain the reciprocity application. Make sure you clarify which registry that needs the application.  It’s also a good idea to always make copies of any information that you send to the registry for your files.

How Do I Renew My Expired CNA License?

Most states will send you a license renewal notification approximately every two years. It’s important to keep your current address information updated with your state’s CNA registry for this reason.

Prior to renewal, you have to pay a fee that differs from state to state.
The renewal notice is usually sent to you 60 days prior to your license expiration. In most states, the renewal process can be done online. CNAs must meet certain continuing education requirements each year prior to license renewal. Your state’s board of nursing will notify you of your specific states CE requirements.

Keep in mind that if your CNA license has been expired for more than five years, you will need to retake a CNA training program and successfully pass your states CNA examination.

Status of License if You Didn’t Meet CEU Requirements in the Past Two Years

CNAs must complete certain in-service training to meet continuing education requirements for renewal of certification. The CEU requirements can vary by state, and the necessary training can be found at your place of employment or online through your state’s registry.

CNAs must provide the licensing division with proof of the completed CEUs in order to keep their certification active. CNAs that allow their license to lapse longer than two years will have to complete a 75-hour training program and retest in order to measure their competency.

Status of License if You Haven’t Worked in the Past Two Years

In most states, CNAs that work at least eight hours within two years can renew their license by filling out the required paperwork and paying the necessary fees. The renewal process is different if you haven’t been actively employed as a CNA within the past two years.

If you have had a 24-month lapse in employment, you will be required to retake the certified nursing assistant training program and retake the test in many states. Because requirements may vary, inquire with your state nurse’s aid registry.

How do You Find the Status of Your License?

If you suspect that your license might be up for renewal, you can check on the status of your license by accessing your states CNA registry online. Conduct a search by your license number or name on the certification verification page.

Additionally, many states maintain toll-free numbers that you can call to check the status of your license.

Why Didn’t You Receive Your Renewal Notification in the Mail?

If you have moved and failed to provide your new address to your sate’s licensing authority, you may not receive the renewal notification in the mail. That’s why the burden rests on you to always update your information with the licensing authority.

Regardless of why you didn’t receive your renewal notification, you should call your nurse’s aide registry or inquire online about your current status. Additionally, know the rules and time frame of your state regarding the status of your license.

Can You Take the CNA Test in Another State?

Sometimes prospective CNAs want to take the nurse’s aide exam in a different state than they are receiving their current training. The CNA test varies from state to state; however, as long as your training program was certified in your state, you can generally take the CNA exam in any state.

Check with your state’s nursing board to confirm that your training program is certified. Keep in mind that in most states, training is valid for one year, so it’s important to take the exam within a year after completion of your training program.

Does Working as a Home Health Aid Count Toward Certification Renewal?

Many states have different regulations regarding the amount of hours you must work to qualify for recertification. Some states require only eight hours of work within a two-year duration, while others can require up to 40 hours of work as a CNA.

Home health aides and certified nurse’s assistants have different training requirements.  An HHA works at the residence of the patient, while a CNA can work in a variety of settings to include a patient’s residence. CNAs are required to fulfill a training program and pass a state exam before they are eligible for employment. Because the requirements for an HHA are not always as stringent, this type of work does not count toward certification renewal.

Can I Obtain CNA Certification If I Have A Criminal Record?

You can take the CNA exam if you have a criminal record, but you may have issues finding employment. Your potential employment opportunities depend on the severity of the crime. If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor in the past, it will depend on the actual crime and the specific rules of your prospective employer.

Most employers conduct background checks, and if you have been convicted of a felony some employers will not allow you to work; however, there are employers who will consider the circumstances of the crime and the amount of time that has passed since the conviction. Check with your state’s licensing authority to make sure there are no issues prior to training.

Helpful Resource

The state of Missouri has a very long FAQ section for nursing assistants. You can access it here
While they are for Missouri only, a lot of the rules are similar across all states(Any answer that mentions “federal” applies to all states). Always make sure to contact the State nursing board/CNA registry for the most accurate information.

93 Responses to CNA Certification Information

  1. christopher April 4, 2010 at 4:01 am #

    if i was to take both parts of the test in one day about how long will it take?

  2. Jacqueline Denson April 17, 2010 at 8:25 pm #

    What is fee for these course?

    • Admin June 2, 2010 at 8:31 pm #

      Hi Jacqueline,
      It all depends on the training center you want to study in. Some charge above $1k while others are a little lower.

    • Chelsea February 7, 2011 at 2:58 am #

      It really just depends on where you are. State, and city. Like I live in Killeen Tx, and the total cost for the courses was 370 plus 83 for the exams. I decided to go to dallas to take the course and exam so I could have my inlaws watch my son and the courses eneded running me 600 plus the 83 for the two exams. then there were other schools that gave the courses for 1100… but it all just depends on which school you choose and where… they run from 200 to 1600… and trust me they are pretty much all the same so go with one that is more affordable. Classes were from 3 weeks to 6 weeks long. I took a 5 week class in Mesquite Tx for 600 and 83 for the exams.

  3. paul June 15, 2010 at 11:20 pm #

    what if you have a criminal history in the state of Florida, will I be able to be certified?

    • Admin June 18, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

      Paul, You’ll need to talk to the Florida Nursing board for that. All states have differing rules for criminal history.

      • angie September 8, 2014 at 7:41 pm #

        I have a criminal background with a felony. But I also gotten my felony set aside. And I’m still waiting for my cna certified.
        Been waiting for two years in the state of Arizona. Will I ever receive my cna?

  4. jackie June 17, 2010 at 7:04 am #

    Hello, I already had the training at Tacoma Community College but I don’t know where I need to go take my test to get certified. Can anyone help me with this?

    • Admin June 18, 2010 at 3:08 pm #

      Hi Jackie, you should get in touch with the college since the state nursing board will only allow you to sit for the certification exam if you’ve recieved training from an accredited training facility.

  5. Gwen June 19, 2010 at 12:32 am #

    hi my CNA license recently expired in february of 2010 i was certified in California and i now live in arizona. how do i recertify my license

    • Admin July 5, 2010 at 4:37 am #

      Hi Gwen, You’ll have to check with your state board of nursing. Usually, if you’ve worked for a minimum amount of hours over the last couple of years you should have little trouble in getting your CNA license renewed without taking the test again.

  6. Brittany Barbee June 25, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    what places in tupelo besides Ms Methodist Senior care offers CNA classes? I know ICC does but it takes 8 weeks and doesnt start til Oct.

    • Admin July 5, 2010 at 4:27 am #

      Brittany, Check our our page on Mississipi CNA Programs to get other training options in your area

    • JennC August 25, 2010 at 1:14 am #

      how did you hear about the classes at ICC. ive been lookin for information but cant find any

  7. shenikca July 12, 2010 at 8:54 pm #

    i completed the cna course at my high school and passed…i recieved the letter in the mail saying i am ready to take the state test…but this was about 6 or 7 months ago…is it too late to take that state test?????

    • Admin August 8, 2010 at 10:43 pm #

      Hi Shenikca,
      You might want to call up your state nursing board and see if they can allow you to take it again. Since you didn’t postpone it, you’ll have to pay and get a new date for the test.

  8. Latricia July 28, 2010 at 11:46 pm #

    i was looking for a place in houston where i can get my cna agine i had it for about 5 yrs then i didnt work and it expired. i would like to find a nursing home to take the classes at. thanks

  9. Shammy August 24, 2010 at 12:34 am #

    Hi,I was wondering is it actually free training course to get CNA . Also, how long do I have to take the training course?

    • Admin August 31, 2010 at 10:54 pm #

      Hi Shammy,
      Please check out our page on free CNA training options. The training usually lasts for 100 to 150 hours depending on the state you reside in. This means you’ll be training for almost four weeks.

  10. Antoninette September 2, 2010 at 12:15 am #

    I took the CNA course when I was in high school a few years back, but never took the certification exam. Will I have to repeat the course all together to get certified, since its been a while. If not where can I apply here in Colorado Springs to take the exam?

    • Admin October 24, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

      Hi,
      Yes you will need to retake the CNA certification test, since its been more than a year since you took the test after doing the training.

  11. vickie shelman September 9, 2010 at 7:31 pm #

    i am a cna and need to know where i have to go to renew my liceneces

    • Admin October 7, 2010 at 10:16 pm #

      You need to contact the nursing board for your state to do that. Let me know which state you’re in and I’ll get you the appropriate contacts.

  12. ruth September 21, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    am trying to transfer my cna licence to mississippi. can anyone gve the numbr or the website for mississippi pls. tnks

  13. rosalyn October 4, 2010 at 3:54 am #

    hi,
    i just want to know i am an RN in Philippines and migrated here in LA. now i don’t have a nursing license here but i for now i want to work as nursing assistant am i eligible for the job or i do need to get a certificate as nursing assistant.since i am and RN from another country. thank you,appreciate it…

    • Admin October 5, 2010 at 6:37 pm #

      Hi Roselyn,
      You’ll have to contact the LA nursing board to see if your prior certification can be verified.

      • rosalyn October 16, 2010 at 6:01 am #

        thank you… : )

  14. Melissa October 8, 2010 at 7:35 pm #

    I completed a CNA course in August of 2009, but I didn’t take the certification exam and I’m afraid that it may be too late to do so. How long after taking the course, do I have to take the state certification exam?

    • Admin October 24, 2010 at 2:18 pm #

      Hi Melissa,
      I;m not sure what the rules are for your state. But I think its a maximum of six months after taking the training. I’ll get back to you should I receive clarification on it.

  15. nursingstudent November 9, 2010 at 12:21 pm #

    I have taken CNA course over at MSJC in Menifee, CA. during Spring 2009. But all this time I have not taken the CNA state board exam. Can I still take the board exam? And when does the exam expire because I do not want to retake CNA course.

    Also, I have forgotten some clinical procedures. Are there places in California that I can go to refresh my memory? Thanks.

    • Admin November 11, 2010 at 6:21 pm #

      Hi,
      In most states, you need to take the exam within a year from when you complete training. You’ll have to retake the training again. :(

  16. Nikole January 9, 2011 at 1:04 am #

    I’ve had the classes through my high school, but couldn’t get sertified through my school. Can I just take the test without taking the course over, and if so how much would it cost?

    • Admin January 13, 2011 at 7:42 pm #

      Nikole, to be able to take he certification test, your high school must be accredited by the nursing board.

  17. Victoria January 20, 2011 at 4:51 am #

    I received my diploma from the training course on December 23rd 2009 in Collier County, Florida. Is it too late to take the state boards? Or will I have to pay to take the course again?

    • Admin February 18, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

      According to the laws you can do your CNA certification test no later than two years after completing the training. You’re not too late and can do the state exam within the next 8 or so months.

  18. d January 25, 2011 at 7:59 pm #

    Can someone tell me ,I already did the course and was certified but I was not able to get my license due to finances ,I was still working now for 5 yrs on a certificate and wants to get licence do I have to take the course all over again and pay 1200. Pls help

    • Admin February 18, 2011 at 11:38 am #

      Hi,
      Unfortunately you’ll have to do the training again. You’re not allowed to work as a CNA without a valid license, you might get into trouble if you’re working without one.

  19. vic February 8, 2011 at 10:02 pm #

    I am looking for a CNA program which is take only less than a year,please can u recomend a school for,I prepared a school not too far from where i live, I am living in Edina,Mn. Thank u.

  20. Drew May 2, 2011 at 1:46 pm #

    Hi, My fiance took the training program and graduated dec. 26th 2010, we were wondering if she was still able to register in the state of Tennessee for the exam, its been a little over 4 months ago, or if she will need to retake the training program to be a CNA. Thank you for any info!

    • Admin May 3, 2011 at 11:29 pm #

      Hi, He’d be eligible to take the test without having to retake the training program. You have two years after completing training to take the CNA certification exam.

  21. Danielle June 1, 2011 at 3:19 pm #

    I already have my certification but have lost my license. Is there any way to look up the number because I’m trying to apply for new jobs.

    • Admin June 20, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

      Very simple. Go to the website of your state’s Nurse Aide registry and check your number.

  22. Marie June 6, 2011 at 11:19 pm #

    Hi! I took my cna course in 2008. I never got my license but I do have my certificate, not sure if it expires or not or if it does expire. Can I still take my state exam? I live in WV.

    • Admin June 20, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

      You have two years after you complete your training to take the CNA certification exam. It seems your time has lapsed. You will need to retake the training.

  23. Steve June 14, 2011 at 7:27 pm #

    Hi –
    I have a full semester of RN school completed and i’m interested in getting my CNA certification. Is it necessary that I take CNA classes? Or, can I schedule a CNA certification examination with my existing education ( I have one semester complete at Long Beach City College AA program)?

    If possible, how do I initiate the certification exam?

    • Admin June 18, 2011 at 1:02 pm #

      Hi, It depends on whether your semester covered topics that could be classified as credits for CNA training. You’d need to contact the state nursing board to confirm. If not, you’d need to redo your training.

  24. Judy June 21, 2011 at 11:14 pm #

    Hi, i recently completed an in-service training program for nurses’ assistants. i followed a comprehensive training schedule and testing. we have no certification process for this group of persons, is it possible that they could take a certification exam elsewhere? what are the requirements?

    • Admin June 22, 2011 at 7:13 pm #

      Unfortunately all states require that the training be done at an accredited training provider to be eligible for the certification exam. You could try contacting the nursing board/CNA registry for your state and explaining your case to them.

  25. Ryan Elms June 23, 2011 at 7:47 pm #

    Hi, I recently completed the CNA course but missed to certification test offered by the college. Do you have any information to where i can go or who i need to contact to sign up for the test?

    • Admin June 23, 2011 at 9:58 pm #

      You can get in touch with your state nursing board to get a list of testing sites around your area.

  26. Aman June 28, 2011 at 10:01 pm #

    Hi , I need to find info about what i need to do to become a CNA , i have finished college in the united kingdom 11 years ago i am a us citizen i just dont know what steps i need to take please help.

    • Admin June 30, 2011 at 8:50 pm #

      Hi. You should be able to get your CNA training from any accredited provider. Just browse the CNA classes by state page above and select your state to get a list of training providers.

  27. Olivia July 27, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

    Hello- I am looking at taking a nursing assistant training program in Minnesota with the hopes of transferring to a two year rn program in Washington state. The rn program requires you have your nac. Two part question- is there any difference between cna and nac? And who would I contact concerning the my certification? As I want to train in Minnesota, but test in Washington?

    • Admin July 27, 2011 at 8:07 pm #

      Hi Olivia,
      NAC – Nursing Assistant Certification. It is the same as a CNA. It would be really difficult to do your training in one state and certification in another. A lot of times states differ in their training requirements so unless Mn and Wa have the same training hours requirements it will be hard to do the test in Washington. I would suggest doing the training and test in Minnesota and then transferring your certification to Washington at a later date.

  28. Patricia August 20, 2011 at 7:09 pm #

    Hello I am a licensed caregiver and am interested in further my profession to and becoming a LPN. My question is do u need to have a CNA license first.

    • Admin August 20, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

      Not necessarily. You will need to check the requirements of the college where you want to get your LPN certification from. Having a CNA certification will however prepare you for a career in nursing as well as give you an edge over other candidates in a limited seats LPN program

  29. Stephanie December 22, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    I am going to be moving to another state very shortly and I have done my research on transferring my CNA license…there was only one question I was unable to find…I understand that it says it is a tedious and long process but my question is, typically how long does it take for the transfer?

    • Admin March 18, 2012 at 12:48 pm #

      It isn’t a long process if you have your paperwork in order. It normally takes less than six weeks.

  30. Erika January 24, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    I got certified through my employer in 2004. My registration expired in 2007 in Texas. I am wondering if I have to train and test again or if I can just test to recertify

    • Lisa April 11, 2013 at 1:13 am #

      no you just have to renew it..you dont have to take any test…are you still working for your employer? as long as you have worked there for the past year they will renew it even if you are not working there any longer..

  31. Josh January 25, 2012 at 11:05 pm #

    I am very interested in becoming an RN. My question is the protocal needed to obtain this position. I already possess a B.S. in an unrelated field. I have heard that you could obtain a CNA, then after gaining it work to gain your RN. I was wonderring if this was accurate and could be explained in better detail.

  32. chelsea February 8, 2012 at 3:53 am #

    if i took my cna training class in illinois and it was a accredited training program am i able to take my cerifacation test in the state of WA

  33. sarah March 12, 2012 at 2:05 am #

    I graduated high school back in may 2006 as a CNA and I haven’t worked as one since. Will I have to retake the course or if I can just take the test. I believe I am coming up on my five years I think. What can I do?

  34. Denise May 7, 2012 at 4:52 am #

    If I took CNA classes in Michigan but moved to Texas before I took the state exam, can I just test out in Texas or do I have to take the classes again?

    • Admin June 5, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

      Good news for you! Texas is one of the only states that will allow anyone from any other state to challange the CNA exam! God Bless Texas indeed!

  35. Hannah May 15, 2012 at 11:55 pm #

    I have been in nursing school for two years in florida. I have over 50 hours of clinical experience and over 50 hours of classroom instruction. Do I have to take a CNA class in WA or can I take a test to get my license?

  36. LeighAnn Loftis June 8, 2012 at 2:20 pm #

    When I was let go from the nursing home i worked at for 8 years in SC, I got the letter sent to me to renew my license. It stated if i didn’t work with a nursing home, i had to pay to renew it myself which i did. However, i got the letter back stating the employer part had not been filled out…i didn’t get my license renewed nor did i get my money back. What do i do now?

  37. Jamica June 16, 2012 at 12:25 am #

    I received an reciprocity from Georgia in 2010 but it expired is it possible to re apply again or will i have to take a test ?

  38. Liz June 18, 2012 at 8:29 pm #

    Hi, I’m a convicted felon who’s trying to better myself. So far I’ve asked questions and research to see if I can get my CNA tho the answer is yes base on my charge I wanted to know how long do I have to wait to start taking my classes?

  39. Jae June 19, 2012 at 7:18 pm #

    I received my CNA & GNA in Maryland 2010 in 2011 I plead guilty to 2nd degree assault & was put on unsupervised probation it’s time to renew my license will it disqualify me from continuing to do Nursing Assistant ??

  40. Cassandra July 10, 2012 at 2:52 am #

    I got certified in 1994 work at this rehab and a veteran facility. But decided to go back to school for a backup plan. When I got my degree in 2000, I was still as a certified nursing assistant, workig in an offce and sitting with a mental challenger child at a school who need a person with nursing assistant background. When time to get my CNA renewed I couldn’t but would like to know the explanation of this situation. However, I’m still working with this mental challenged child and would like to get my certification reinstated.. I would like to know if I have to take the class all over again or could I just take the certification again.

  41. Maddie November 5, 2012 at 9:32 pm #

    Hi, I am currently attending school in Arizona, but I am from California. Would I be able to take a certified CNA class in California and then take the exam in Arizona? Or would it be better to take the exam in California and then transfer it to Arizona? I am hoping to work in a hospital where I attend school in Arizona after I complete the class and become certified.

  42. roxanne brant November 6, 2012 at 6:30 pm #

    I need to swicth from pa to md

  43. Jay February 4, 2013 at 3:52 am #

    I had my CNA in Florida but im about to move in North Dakota, what would I have to do to transfer up to North Dakota?

  44. amber February 8, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

    i finished and passed the course but i never took the exam its been a 1 year do i have to retake the course before i can take the exam

  45. K.T February 13, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

    My sister received her NA license two years ago and was accused of neglecet and stealing a residents property her license expires in August does she have a second chance to take the NA test over n be certified again with out the past coming back to haunt her she says she didn’t do what she was accused for n still wants to work in the nursing field

  46. Sid February 19, 2013 at 3:01 am #

    If I worked in a state job as a mental health technical for 25 years,is my nurses aide certificate valid to go back to work in a nursing home?

  47. skye February 20, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    can i become a cna with a operating while intoxicated charage on my record in michigan? i was under the age of 18 and it was 3 years ago.

  48. mona March 1, 2013 at 4:04 pm #

    i was arrested 3 yrs ago for assault but charges were dropped because i had alot of marks on me from my husband and they said in my case it was self defense how long before i can work at a nursing home again

  49. kayla March 19, 2013 at 2:34 am #

    my husband was once an stna, he was convicted of a f2 in 2005, did his time n no problems ever since. could he ever b a stna again? its been 8 yrs.

  50. Amber March 20, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    I’m so confused on what I should do. I moved from California to South Carolina and my cna expired before I could get it transferred. So now I need to know my options but can’t seem to get a straight answer anywhere! Should I reinstate my cna in California then attempt to transfer it or would it be easier to do something in sc like take the state exam and would I then have my cna for here?? Please help!

  51. Erlinda April 8, 2013 at 11:10 pm #

    I am working as a CNA in Washington State. My husband and I want to move to Hawaii, but don’t want to move tell I have a job lined up in Hawaii. My question is if I transfer my CNA license to Hawaii, can I still work in Washington State until I get a job offer in Hawaii. Thank you and any help will be greatly appreciated.

  52. Louisha August 6, 2013 at 8:03 pm #

    I will be living in NY soon and will be on the border of VT, but I would like to work in VT. Do i have to get a NY CNA license or VT license. Also will I only be able to work in the state I’m certified.

  53. Rachel November 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm #

    I am a registered nurse in the Philippines.. Am i allowed to take the CNA exam? and what if i failed the test 3x? Do i need to take a CNA Course? because as far as i know… RNs are allowed to take the test without having this CNA course. pls help me with this. Thank you.

  54. Marlana December 17, 2013 at 10:07 pm #

    My CNA license lasped in 2007. I worked for Oxford Health care from January-October 2012. I took the written and skills test in March 2013. I passed the written test but failed the skills. What else and where else can I do to get my CNA license renewed.

  55. rohit sharma December 29, 2013 at 7:32 am #

    hi,
    i just want to know i am an RN in india and migrated here in CA. now i don’t have a nursing license here but i for now i want to work as nursing assistant am i eligible for the job or i do need to get a certificate as nursing assistant.since i am and RN from another country. thank you,appreciate it…

    REPLY

  56. Alisha April 3, 2014 at 1:38 am #

    I have taken the 75 hour home health aide course am I able to take the state test for CNA with out taking anymore training classes in Ohio

  57. Tyisha April 30, 2014 at 2:03 am #

    hi! I was wondering why even though I renewed my CNA license, the expiration date is still the same online for 2014? It should now read April 2016 but its not :-(

  58. Catherine June 12, 2014 at 5:50 am #

    Hi im from NH, my lna license is expired today but my issue date was only last year 2/2013. My license is still active that it should be inactive by before midnight of my birthday, which is really wierd and I have job interview on Friday for Lna job which is gonna be my first time if ill get the job. Can anyone tell me what to do before I go to the job interview coz I saw sone articles that it says that it has to be 2 yrs but m7ne was only over a year.

  59. Dana August 6, 2014 at 10:25 pm #

    Hi I currently live in NC I am taking my CNA state board test on the 15th of august and I may be moving to OK to work in Fort Smith, AR at a hospital will my CNA license be eligible for a job there ?

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