The health care field is often a stressful place to work, and one of the many stressors is remembering to maintain your professional license or certification. Since the health care field is constantly changing as we learn more and more about human health and new treatment methods and technology, it’s important that health care professionals stay up-to-date and knowledgeable.
One way that states make sure this happens is by setting requirements for how to keep your certified nursing assistant (CNA) license or certification active. Each state has requirements that you have to complete in order to continue working as a CNA.
In most states, you have to fulfill those requirements at least every two years. Depending on your state, those requirements can mean needing to prove you’ve worked in direct patient care sometime within the past 24 months, or you’ll have a certain number of continuing education credits, also called continuing education units (CEUs), that you need to complete every two years.
CEUs are often a common requirement by states for CNAs to maintain their eligibility to keep working in the field. While it takes effort, keeping on top of your certification and continuing education helps you reduce your professional stress and, more importantly, keep you employed.
When it’s time to renew your CNA license, follow these six steps and check here to see new jobs near you:
- Review your state’s license renewal requirements. Check your state board’s website to review CNA licensing requirements.
- Check CEU requirements. Does your state require CEUs? If so, how many are required? Can they all be completed online, or do you have to complete some in an in-person classroom or training activity? It’s important to have these completed before you apply for renewal. Always check to be sure you’ve completed any “required topic” CEUs, which are specific training topics required by your state. Additionally, if you’ve been regularly working as a CNA, you might find that your facility provides you opportunities to get CEU credit through in-service trainings.
- Locate your previous certifications. Designate a place in your home to put your certificates and proof of completion for training courses. Nursing boards can ask you to prove that you did your CEUs, which usually means showing them a certificate of completion. A good rule of thumb is to hold onto any CEU certificates for five years. You don’t want to get fined or have your certification put on hold if the regulatory board selects you for an audit.
- Select an approved CEU vendor. When choosing a CEU provider online to renew your CNA license, look for a state board-approved vendor. Vendors will list what states they’re certified in as CEU providers on their website. As you go through to select courses, make sure the content is relevant to your scope of practice.
- Submit your application and pay renewal fees. Complete your renewal application and attach proof of CEUs if they are required in your state. You will also need to pay any applicable renewal fees for your state. Not all states require this.
- Get fingerprinted (if required). If this is your initial application or you’re transferring your license from one state to another, you’ll likely need to provide your fingerprints for a background check and to put on record. Your state regulatory agency will have information on how and where to complete this requirement.
What If I Let My License Expire?
If you fail to renew your CNA certification before the expiration date, you’ll likely be put on to a delinquent status. That means you won’t be able to work as a CNA until you finish any requirements and pay the renewal fees.
What If I Move to Another State?
If you need to transfer your license to another state, you’ll need to check with the new state’s regulatory agency and look for the transfer requirements. Most of the time, you can find all this information on the agency’s website, including any documents you’ll need to fill out.
For more information and to help find the regulatory agency in your state, visit the National Council Of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) nurse aide registry.
Ready to start working as a CNA? Check out our healthcare jobs at Clipboard Health to search for shifts in your area. You’ll be able to search for and pick up shifts that fit your schedule, and you can get paid as soon as your shift is finished and verified.