CNA Certification in Wisconsin

In the state of Wisconsin you can have a rewarding entry-level health care career working as a certified nursing assistant.  Certified nursing assistant provide patients with assistance of daily living and provide basic care services.

Minimum Training Hours and Requirements

The federal government requires that all nursing assistant certification training courses cover at least 75 hours of training.  The Wisconsin training program consists of far more hours with 120 total hours of training.  At least 32 hours must be spent in clinical training.  This provides prospective nursing assistants with hands-on experience.  Students must complete at least 16 hours of training in the classroom before beginning clinical training.

Training programs must be approved by the Department of Health Services for students to be eligible to sit for the nursing assistant certification exam.  The programs provide students with the knowledge they need to work successfully as a certified nursing assistant.

Transfer Your CNA certification to Wisconsin via Reciprocity

You might be able to receive nursing assistant certification through reciprocity if you were certified in a state other than Wisconsin. The Department of Health Services in Wisconsin takes applications for reciprocity. You must have a certification in another state that is still active and in good standing.

The state of Wisconsin will review details of your training and work history as a certified nursing assistant in your former state. They will ensure that you attended a state approved training program and that you have been employed as a nursing assistant or provided nursing related duties over the past two years. Once the Department of health Services has received your application it will take about 5-10 business days to process. If you are accepted for reciprocity you will be placed on the Wisconsin Nurse Aide Registry and you will receive a nurse aide certificate in the mail.

An individual can transfer their CNA Certification to the state of Wisconsin by following these steps.

  1. Access the application to transfer your CNA certification to Wisconsin here:
  2. You will complete Part I of the Application including:
  • A: Personal information
  • B: Training Information
  • C: Employment information
  1. Attach a copy or your certificate from your nursing assistant training program you completed.
  2. Don’t forget to sign and date your application.
  3. Once your have completed Part 1 in its entirety you need to submit your application to the state where you are currently registered as a CNA They will complete Part II of your application and mail it directly to the Wisconsin Department of Health Services. 

Be advised that if you are transferring from California, Colorado, Missouri, North Carolina or South Carolina you will complete Part I and then send to the address listed in Part II.

  1. If your application to transfer your CNA certification is approved, you will receive your Wisconsin Certification within a few weeks. If your CNA training course from another state was approved.

CNA Certification Renewal in Wisconsin

You will renew your nursing assistant certification in Wisconsin every two years. Forms will be mailed to you and must be completed and returned before your certification expires. Once returned it will take about 2 weeks to process your renewal application. In order to renew your certification you will be required to  verify that you have been employed as a nursing assistant or provided nursing related duties for pay at least 8 hours under the supervision of an RN or LPN over the last two years. You must not have any felony convictions nor any complaints against you by former patients in order to be able to renew your nursing assistant certification.

If you have allowed your certification to lapse, it will be necessary to schedule a certification exam again. Your license cannot be renewed until you pass both portions of the exam.

Helpful Resources: Accredited CNA classes in Wisconsin and Free CNA training in Wisconsin


7 Responses to CNA Certification in Wisconsin

  1. Merilee McGaw October 9, 2011 at 10:59 pm #

    I have a question you may be able to help me with. I have been a cna for quite awhile in WI.
    Two years ago i moved to VA. I had retaken the cna course there and went though the classroom trining 112 hours and also the clinical 40 hours. I moved back to WI and have been working in non medical home care, and recently found out my cna expired in 2/2011. I had no date listed on the certificate and i guess i assumed it was still active, so my question is do i have to retake it all again? thnak you so much for your responce… M McGaw

  2. Joanne Bridwell March 30, 2012 at 9:50 am #

    20 years ago I went to school for LPN and passed the first semester;I have been doing CNA work for 3 years now without a CNA certificate but I am CBRF certified how do I apply for a CNA certificate without going to school?I live in Wisconsin and also am Med Certified

  3. angela fechtmeyer March 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm #

    Can you keep your CNA certification if you work as a resident assistant??????

  4. robin June 13, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    can i take the test in wi was certified in ms from 1992-2008 expired and didnt renew due to cariing for sick mother now thinking about moving to wi will need job cna is all i know

  5. Tiara Nicholson November 5, 2013 at 12:07 am #


  6. lashonda hall February 25, 2014 at 2:57 am #

    what do i do to transfer my cna license to wisconsin from illinois if i was recertified had taken the class and passed all test but stop working for a few years and had to retest and passed

  7. Laura June 9, 2015 at 4:52 pm #

    In reference to the WI-IL questions above posted over 2 yrs ago: For IL licenses you can contact IL Dept of Professional Regulation. You can also inquire by phone 1-800-560-6420. I have no idea what Wisconsin’s state professional website is but if it is IL-WI, you should find an answer.

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