What to Do if Your CNA Certification Expires

What to Do if Your CNA Certification Expires

Are you a CNA whose certification has expired? Are you unsure of what you need to do to reinstate it? The requirements to reinstate an expired nursing assistant certification vary depending on the state where you work and when did your certification expire. Nevertheless, the following information can help get you back on track.

Basic Renewal Requirements

In most states, CNA certifications are valid for a period of two years. This includes initial certifications as well. Depending on your state, when it is time for you to renew, you will receive a renewal notice in the mail. In such a case, you can typically renew your certification by completing your renewal card and sending it back to your state's CNA registry or board of nursing. There are many states that offer the option of renewing your certification online as well.

For you to renew your certification, you will need to provide proof that you worked as a nursing assistant for a set amount of hours during the previous two years. You will also need to submit proof that you completed a set amount of continuing education courses as required by your state.

Rules Regarding Minor Lapses

Most states recognize a grace period for renewing CNA certifications. This period varies depending on the state, and can range from a couple of weeks to a few months. So long as you are within this grace period, you can renew your certification without any penalties. Simply renew your certification as you would normally do.

At times, even if you are within your grace period, you may still need to reinstate your CNA certification. The most common reason for this is if you did not work as a CNA within the two years prior to your renewal date. In this case, you will likely need to complete additional continuing education coursework, file a reinstatement application, and pay a reinstatement fee.

Requirements for Lengthy Lapses

If there is a significant lapse in your CNA certification, the steps you will need to take to reinstate your certification are a bit more complicated than those described above. Of course, these steps vary depending on the state where you work, but the most common requirements for lengthy lapses are:

  • Completion of a Second CNA Program
  • Completion of a Second CNA Competency Exam
  • Completion of the Required Continuing Education Courses
  • Submission of a Reinstatement Application
  • Payment of the Current Reinstatement Fee


What you will need to do if your CNA certification has expired may include completing additional continuing education courses, re-training, and/or re-taking the CNA exam.

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