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Things to Know as a CNA If You Move to Another State

Moving from one state to another when you work in the medical field is not always as straightforward as we’d like it to be. Each state sets its own requirements for jobs that require a license or certification process. So transferring your license from one state to another means you have to prove to the new state that you can do the job at the level they expect of you.

If you are a certified nursing assistant (CNA) and planning on moving to a new state, and you want to continue working as a CNA there, here’s what you need to know about transferring your license.

Transfer Your Certification

Although each state has its own requirements and processes, there are basic steps you need to take to become certified as a nursing assistant in a state different from the one you got your license in. You can also check to see if there are any nursing jobs near you here. But first, we need to define the word “reciprocity.”

What Does Reciprocity Mean?

Reciprocity means that some states have an agreement that says someone who has been licensed in one state can transfer their license to another state without having to go through the full certification progress. Usually, all that means is you apply for a transfer, pay a fee, and send in any required paperwork to your old state and your new state. 

If your new state doesn’t have a reciprocity agreement with your old state, then you’ll have to go through the full certification process again. That means taking the class and passing the licensing exams and whatever other requirements your new state has to be licensed as a CNA.

Each state has a nursing assistant registry that will determine whether and how you can transfer your license. You can find the registries you need by googling your state plus nursing assistant registry.

How Do I Transfer My Certification to Another State?

Many states will let you transfer your certification from one state to another as part of a reciprocity agreement. For these states, you’ll need to do the following: 

  1. Have a current and active CNA certification and be in good standing in your current state.
  2. Look up the nursing assistant registry for the state you’re currently certified in. You’ll need to get a reciprocity application, sometimes called an Application for Certification by Reciprocity or Application for Enrollment by Reciprocity. It will have details on what you need to do to transfer your license out of your state.
  3. Contact the nursing assistant registry for the state you’re transferring to. You’ll also need that registry’s reciprocity form to know what they need from you.
  4. Fill out the forms and follow the instructions on the forms. Then submit the forms, application fee, a copy of your ID, and any additional information listed in the reciprocity application to the registries. 

For other states that don’t use reciprocity forms, you’ll need to contact the state’s nursing assistant registry to learn what their process is. You can search online for your “[old state] nursing assistant registry” and “[new state] nursing assistant registry,” or you can search for “transfer CNA license from [old state] to [new state].”