CNA Licensure and Credentialing Information
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) work within hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities, helping patients with basic daily living activities. This entry-level healthcare position requires completion of a state-approved training program, passage of a state licensing exam and regular renewal of credentials for continued eligibility.
Becoming a Licensed CNA
Most CNA training programs require that candidates have a high school diploma or GED prior to entry. CNA training courses are typically offered through community colleges, trade schools or local hospital programs. These programs may last anywhere from three weeks to six months. Upon completion, CNA candidates may take their state's certification exam. The exam consists of both a written component and a practical, skills competency section. The written exam may be available in languages other than English or may be taken orally, depending on state regulations. It may include such topics as reading patient vital signs, proper chart recording and understanding emergency procedures.
Candidates may also need to pass a physical exam, drug test and criminal background check, depending on state requirements. Once all of these requirements are met, candidates are added to the state's Nurse Aide Registry and are eligible for employment.
CNA certification is typically valid for two years and CNAs are required to renew their credentials every 24 months. CNAs must submit a renewal application within 30 days of their certificate's expiration and pay any associated renewal fees. Most states also require that CNAs provide proof of having completed a specific number of continuing education units (CEU) or in-service training. They may also require that CNAs provide proof of having worked in a paid nursing position over the past 2-year period.
CNAs with certificates which have been expired for more than 30 days are usually considered to be in delinquent status and may be prohibited from continuing to work until their certificate is renewed. In cases where a CNA's certificate has been expired for more than two years, renewal candidates may need to submit proof of having received recent re-training from an approved CNA program. They may also have to once again pass a criminal background check and drug testing prior to being issued a new certificate.
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