What You (REALLY) Need to Know About CNA Certification
To be eligible for CNA positions, you must obtain your CNA certification. Find out what you need to know about getting your CNA certification to achieve your goals more quickly and easily.
CNA Certification Requirements
CNA certification requirements vary from one state, but the typical first step is to complete a state-approved training program. Offered by community colleges, trade schools, vocational schools and many healthcare facilities, requirements for enrollment in such programs varies. However, you must typically be at least 16 to 18 years old and should ideally possess a high school diploma or GED. You must also undergo background checks and health screenings.
Even after you earn your certification, or license, you aren't finished. Every two years, you must renew it. If you relocate, you must transfer it to the state where you are going to live. At certain points, you may have to verify that your certification is still valid. Learn what you need to know about these important topics to have the smoothest, easiest time becoming a CNA.
How to Get Your CNA Certification
Upon completing your training course, you must sit for your state certification exam. In all states, it consists of two parts: a written section and a practical skills section. You must pass both sections in order to receive your certification.
The key to earning your certification with ease is to work hard during your training. State-approved training programs are designed to prepare you for the exam.
How to Renew Your CNA Certification
Like many certifications in the healthcare field, CNA certifications don't last forever. To ensure that their skills are still up to par, CNAs must renew their certifications every two years.
When you pass your certification exam and receive your certification, take a close look at it. The expiration date should be clearly marked, and it should expire two years after it was issued.
Needless to say, you shouldn't let your CNA certification expire while you are employed. If it does, you may be let go from your job. Luckily, most states send reminders a few months prior to expiration.
In most states, the requirements for renewing a CNA license are fairly straightforward. You usually have to prove that you worked at least one eight-hour shift within the last two years. You must also pay a fee. Most state nursing boards allow you to apply for renewal online.
If you didn't work enough to meet the requirements for renewing your CNA certification, you may have to take a competency evaluation to reactivate it. However, if it has been expired for more than two years, you will have to complete your training and state exam all over again.
How to Verify Your CNA Certification
Verify your CNA certification by contacting your state nursing board. They will ask for your name and other identifying information, including your certification number and driver's license number. They can then verify the status of your certification.
Chances are that your state nursing board has an online portal where you can check the status of your CNA license as well, so be sure to check. It is much faster to check online than to make a call. It is often free of charge as well.
How to Transfer Your CNA Certification
When you initially set out to obtain your CNA certification, you should get it from the state where you plan to work as a CNA. Like most people, you probably expect to stay in that state for the time being. However, things change. What happens if you have to move to a different state? Will you still be able to work as a CNA?
Fortunately, you will still be able to work as a CNA. However, you must transfer your certification to your new state of residence. To do so, start by contacting your current local state nurse aide registry. Find out whether your state has a reciprocity agreement in place with the state where you are moving.
Most states have such reciprocity agreements in place. Ask your local registry for an Application for Enrollment by Reciprocity. Once it is processed, you will be licensed and certified to work as a CNA in your new state.
In the unlikely event that your new state and old state don't have a reciprocity agreement, you will have to sit for the certification exam in your new state. You may have to study a little beforehand to brush up on a few topics, but you shouldn't have to undergo training all over again. To successfully transfer your certification, you must verify your identity by providing your driver's license, social security card and your current CNA license.
We've merely brushed the surface of what you should know about CNA certification. Dig deeper into the topic through the pages on this website. A wealth of information and resources is available right at your fingertips. By educating yourself about the various aspects of CNA certification, you will have an easier time getting and maintaining yours.