CNA Continuing Education Guidance

Continuing education for healthcare personnel assures that workers will be up to date in the latest knowledge and techniques for taking care of patients. Federal law requires certified nurses’ aids to have at least 12 hours of continuing education per year to become recertified. In California a certified nurses’ assistant must complete 48 hours of continuing education every two years in order to renew his or her certificate. At least 12 hours must be taken each year and 24 hours may be taken online.  Florida requires the federally mandated 24 hours in two years, and specifies the subjects nurses’ aids must study. Check with your nursing licensing board in your state to see what continuing education requirements you will need to meet.

CNA Continuing Education Requirements

Every CNA has a specific scope of duties that they are responsible for daily. During your initial training for certification, you learned the comprehensive details and procedures that equipped you with the necessary tools to be confident in the workplace. CNA continuing education courses are meant to update and expand that knowledge base. A few examples of current popular continuing education courses for CNAs include but are not limited to the following:

  • Avoiding medical errors
  • Resident rights
  • Emotional support for patients
  • Record documentation
  • Elderly patient care
  • Current medical procedures
Places that offer CE Courses

Many hospitals offer their own continuing education given by their inservice departments, and this is one benefit to look for when choosing a place of employment. Many of the courses offered are tailored to the needs of the hospital, so they will be helpful in your work and you will have a chance to put into practice what you have learned in the classroom. Self-study courses can sometimes be included in pay envelopes so that nursing assistants can study at their own pace. Some hospitals allow non-employees to register for a fee if there is room available.

Many community colleges and nursing schoolsalso offer continuing education units (CEU’s), so check with the local schools. The school where you got your nurses’ aid training might be a good place to start, and the teachers there can probably recommend good sources of continuing education.

The Red Cross is one of a few places that may offer CE courses in your state

The Red Cross is another continuing education provider. The organization’s courses emphasize cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and emergency preparedness.

Online courses are also available to make continuing education convenient. Many online courses are inexpensive, offering an unlimited number of hours for an entire year for around $20.00-$30.00. Some online sources include,,, and, to name a few.

If you are thinking of changing the direction of your career in some way, continuing education can be helpful. If you have worked in a residential care facility and think that you would like to change to an acute hospital, try looking for courses in the specialty in which you would like to work.

When you complete a CEU course you will be issued a certificate. If you take on online course you will need to print your certificate. Keep records of all the CEU’s you take over a period of two years. When it is time to renew your certification, you will be required to fill out a form with titles of all your courses, their government-issued numbers, the dates you took the courses, the number of CEU’s and the names, addresses, and telephone numbers of the places where you took them. Plan your CEU’s in plenty of time and you will be all ready for renewal when the time comes.

You might be able to get your continuing education for free in some cases. Read our article on Free CNA Inservices

Continuing Education Philosophy. Why it is Necessary

Now that we have discussed the requirements for continuing education, let’s take a closer look at the purpose and goals of CE courses. According to the Journal of Continuing Education in Health Care Professions, the purpose of CE courses for healthcare workers are to provide up-to-date, well researched content for CNAs to utilize in their daily routines at work.

With the increasing need for qualified CNAs inAmericaand the necessity to maintain a skilled workforce, continuing education helps to closely monitor changes in the following important factors relevant to your healthcare career:

Advancements in Medicine can improve on the care given to a patient. Learning new techniques and skills is part of CE

  • Safety Concerns – As a CNA you come in contact with a variety of hazardous chemicals; you must also be aware of proper lifting and transfer techniques for patients . It’s up to you stay informed of the latest and greatest safety precautions through continuing education. This will help protect you against any unnecessary injury.
  • Advancements in Medicine – Scientists are working hard to find cures for many diseases and ailments. New studies and results are constantly released that change the old school of thought in many clinical procedures. Continuing education gives you an opportunity to stay informed and allows you to tackle any new procedure that comes your way.
  • Licensing Changes – While medical procedures often change, so does certain licensing and certification requirements. Maintaining your continuing education requirements can help you stay ahead of the curve, and will allow you to keep your certification up-to-date.
  • Infectious Diseases – It seems like every year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention publish information about some new illness. Continuing education will help you to treat your patients and protect yourself from any previously unknown illness.


CE courses for Certified Nursing Assistants have been around for a long time, and as a professional healthcare worker, they will continue to be an integral part of your overall nursing plan.  With today’s technology, providers of continuing education have made online CE courses available in the comfort of your own home.

It may be a state requirement to keep current on your continued education; however, there are also immense professional and personal benefits gained by maintaining this obligation. It’s every CNA’s responsibility to become a lifelong student when it comes to ongoing education in the medical field. Adhering to this philosophy will promote a sense of professional confidence that will assist you and your patients throughout your career as a CNA.

Expert Authors: Denise Warren RN. BSN and Kathryn Goldin, R.N., M.D., M.S.P.H. 

22 Responses to CNA Continuing Education Guidance

  1. Linda Hecker October 31, 2010 at 5:22 pm #

    How do we know what courses we need to take each renewal and are there some which need repeating or updating every renewal?

    • Admin June 7, 2012 at 10:01 am #

      There are no rules on which courses you can or can’t take. As long as you’re taking a new CE course you will be credited for it as part of your 8 to 24 hour CE requirements.

    • Denise March 4, 2016 at 5:13 am #

      I am a CNA at this point in my life. I went to school to become a Medical assistant and worked for 6 months before going back to a CNA. I do not have any hours of continued education because i went to school to become a MA. I now need hours and have been doing cnazone for the online part but need help with the in class hours. Any advise? Also it says 12 a year but im cramming 24 hours in a 6 month period. Is that going to be a problem?

  2. karen May 20, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    Hi< I just wanted to know, about 10 years ago I was certified cna but did not keep up on my cert. Would I have to take the course all over again or is there a test I can take. I know I recieved it in mass in the berkshires. Would I be able to look it up and still use it. thanks, Karen

    • Admin June 30, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

      Hi Karen, you will need to retake the training as well as the exam.

  3. Tina Zingg October 24, 2011 at 3:05 pm #

    I am extremely interested in more training as a CNA, I work in a long term care facility
    in Northern Michigan. I would like to advance my training to provide palliative and hospice care and be able to assist in training my teammates.

  4. Mary February 7, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

    hello, my CNA Certification expired march 2011 and I wanted to renew it ASAP before March 2012. i read on the form that you have up to 2 years to renew it after the expiration date. The only problem is that I called the facility I worked at as a CNA to see how many hours I completed of in service and they told me i have been gone too long and cannot provide me with that information. I was employed there may 2008 to november 2010. What do I need to do to renew my CNA license?

  5. Roni February 23, 2012 at 7:16 pm #


    I am interested in being a continuing education trainer for Med Tech’s, CNA’s and assisted living facilities. My background is in Public Health and Biology. I would like to know how to go about become and trainer/ having a training center. Your input would be appreciated.


    • Admin February 28, 2012 at 9:27 am #

      One of our expert contributors will get back to you on this very soon.

  6. Amanda Graff June 13, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

    Hello. Does anyone know of a CNA exam being offered in California before June 26, 2012

  7. Robert January 5, 2013 at 8:42 pm #


    How can I go about getting “face to face” units? Are these the “in services” that are mentioned here? I already have 24.5 units using my compay’s Silverchair system. How do I prove I’ve completed a face to face course?


  8. ian February 5, 2013 at 9:04 am #


    If you were taking college courses for continueing education, are they count as CEUs for renewal a CNA license? Courses examples: Microbiology, physiology, etc
    I live in CA.

  9. Mike April 1, 2013 at 6:48 pm #

    I have a background in security at a pharmaceutical company. I am interested in becoming a cna how can i begin this and what do I need to do. I live in round lake beach, illinois. Is there any schools near me you know of. Also I am looking for the cheapest way to become a cna yet best way

  10. Josie May 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    I have left my job to take care of mom I have a cna in fl. My renewal will be coming up at the end of this year .not sure if I will go back to work . I would like to find out if I need to go threw the course to keep my license? Thank you

  11. darla April 2, 2014 at 11:36 am #

    i need to get my cna up dated for i haven’t worked for a while i can’t work at the monent i am doing volunteeter work at a nursing home i am waiting to see if i have to surgery i want to work as soon as i find out i live in southern il please help me

  12. Jody May 1, 2014 at 10:11 pm #

    Hi — I was wondering if working as a home health aid for an agency counts as CEU’s for my CNA renewal… I didn’t do CEU’S my first year of my CNA license !!

  13. Lewonda June 10, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

    Hi I’ve been a certified nursing assistant since 2006, and I’m trying to get help of furthering my education in the medical field. Throughout the years I been trying schools but they didn’t offer what I wanted. I would love to become an RN, so I could teach CNA, this is how much I appreciates and adores being a CNA. Please give me advice nurses by email. Thanks in advance

  14. blanca June 18, 2014 at 6:28 am #

    HI,my CNA certification will expired february 2015 and i only worked last year for 4 weeks,because i culdnt continuo to work ,but i need to take CEUs for my CNA renewal but i don`t know where to start and what do i need to do

  15. Brad August 4, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    I have a question about renewal of my CA CNA license? If I did not do the 12 hours of CEU’s the first year and took all the Required CEU’s the second year before my license expires will I still be able to renew my license?

  16. Jyoti Basnet October 18, 2014 at 6:21 pm #

    i’m RN from Asian country. i have experience in nursing field more than 20 years n i like to help people.but some time difficult to converse english because i need to practice more. If you give me a chance i”ll try my best. I’m honest , helpful . I can give volunter service too few days or month. thanx

  17. Stephanie K. Johnson September 6, 2017 at 3:28 am #

    As of last year my CNA license and HHA expired the same time August !6, 2016 for California. I was told that my license was about to expire and I put in 40 CEU’s worth online and the person whom was giving it to me got terminated. I knew that you’re suppose to have 24 in person and 24 online but I honestly. had no clue what to do. Yet it has been a struggle trying to reestablish my CNA since then since no one could tell me where to go or what to do. I was told that I needed to do a competency test since it was two years expired yet it hasn’t been two years yet. I took the competency test in Sacramento 3 times and I failed. I was told that I need to retake the whole course all over again due the fact I failed, and have been having hard time figuring where to go or what to do for my CNA. Something that was short term or part time while I’m working. Is there a way I could do a CNA course a refresher course online? Thanks for your help

  18. Linda September 4, 2019 at 7:43 pm #

    I was told by a lady in the IL Dept. of Public Health that in IL there is no continuing education requirement but simply have to work at least 8 hours in the 24 month period. If this is incorrect then where does a person go online to obtain the CE needed in order to keep the designation of CNA?

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