How to Apply for Certified Nursing Assistant Reciprocity

So you’ve accomplished the major milestone of gaining state certification as a nursing assistant and may have even worked in a medical facility. Unfortunately, life has a tendency of switching up your plans. If you find yourself needing to move states, but you still wish to work as a certified nursing assistant, you must become well-versed in your new state’s reciprocity requirements. In a nutshell, reciprocity is the process of proving your talent, education and qualifications you’ve learned in one state and displaying this information to qualify for certification in another state. This process is quite common for all licensed or certified professions, and when broken down, is a simplistic process.

State-Specific CNA Certification Requirements

The first step in starting the reciprocity process is uncovering the minimum requirements to hold CNA certification in your new state. Unfortunately, CNA certification requirements are not universal across the United States. Although specific requirements can dramatically vary, the average state requires personal identification information such as a Social Security Number and employment as a CNA for a specified duration.

For example, to qualify for reciprocity in the State of Maine, you must have worked a minimum of eight hours as a CNA within the previous 24-months while also being listed as “Active” on another state’s Nurse Aide Registry. Those seeking reciprocity must also have no pending or substantial findings on their record with the Nurse Aide Registry as well as hold a valid social security card.

The Reciprocity Process

Again, exact steps to undergo reciprocity varies upon the state; however, the general procedure involves an application as well as providing supporting documents for approval. For example, in the State of Maine, those seeking reciprocity must complete a short application that includes current contact information as well as employment verification. It’s important to note, application requires your Registered Nurse supervisor or the Director over your medical facility to verify you actually worked a minimum of eight hours within the previous 24-months. Supporting documents include a paycheck stub or a letter confirming your employment on the company’s letterhead.

Upon verification of this information, the state will then decide whether or not to approve your request. If approved, you’ll be given a CNA certification for the new state as well as access to register with their Nurse Aide Registry.

Remember, the aforementioned steps are specific for the State of Maine. While your state may feature different requirements, these are the most common steps and requirements. For information on other states, visit CNA Certification Scoop or contact the nursing board for the state your certification will be transferred to in order to define exact certified nursing assistant reciprocity regulations.

Continuing Education for Certified Nursing Assistants

Certified nursing assistants are no different than any other licensed or certified medical career in that to maintain your certification you must undergo a set number of continuing education hours. In a nut-shell, continuing education is vital for the success of medical professionals as the actual medical field is such a rapidly changing world. If CNAs only maintained their initial education, it would only be a matter of years before their knowledge is outdated. To maintain the highest quality of care, expect to undergo several hours of additional training per year. The good news is that you can get classes for certified nursing assistant online.

Continuing CNA Education Requirements

Just as certification requirements are established on a state-by-state basis, the number of continuing education hours, also referred to as In-Service Training, varies according to statutes set forth by your state. These numbers can greatly vary, as well as what type of training must be accomplished. For example, in California, CNAs must complete a minimum of 48-hours of continuing education within the two year certification period, with a minimum of 12-hours done in a single year. On the other hand, Florida only requires 12-hours of continuing education every year to maintain certification.

Continuing CNA Education Courses

The scope of continuing education coursework also greatly varies according to rules established by your state’s board of nursing. While the options of continuing education are almost limitless, certain states require a specific number of hours to cover either a specified topic or through a specific training mode. For example, in California you may choose to learn about a wide variety of topics; however, a maximum of 24 out of the 48-hour CE requirement can be done through online coursework. In Florida, no such statute exists; however, you must enroll in topic-specific coursework such as domestic violence, infection control, CPR skills and patient rights.

Uncovering Continuing CNA Education Requirements

No matter the specifics, all states that require CNAs to hold state-accredited certification must undergo continuing education coursework. Uncover the rules and requirements for such training by contacting the nursing board for your state. This information is readily available online. Point your web browser to your state’s nursing board website and review current requirements for CNA continuing education. Found within this information is typically a list of approved CE education courses.

It’s imperative you only choose a continuing education course that’s accredited by the nursing board. Not doing so may result in non-applicable training hours. Every state features a minimum number of CE hours; however, expand your knowledge, and potentially your salary, by pursuing additional training beyond the minimum hourly requirements. In such a highly competitive field as this one, engaging in higher education opportunities sets you out from the crowd and makes you a more desirable commodity for employers.

Certified Nursing Assistant – Training Requirements

Most, if not all, of healthcare professionals are required to undergo some form of higher education. While more advanced-level positions require degrees and hours of clinical application to begin their practice, certified nursing assistants are attractive to many due to its limited education requirements. While all states require some form of education, the exact training requirements vary from state-to-state. Therefore, contact the nursing board or professional licensing division of your state to learn current CNA training requirements.

Level of Required Education for Certified Nursing Assistants

As stated above, the exact duration of training varies according to your state. For example, in the State of Oregon, you must complete at least 75-hours of training from an OSBN-approved nursing assistant training program while the State of Georgia requires aspiring CNAs to undergo a total of 85-hours of approved training, of which 24-hours must be clinical application under the direct supervision of a Registered Nurse.

While the exact number of hours may vary, basic training requirements are universal across all states. Certified nursing assistants are not required to hold a degree, outside of a high school diploma or GED. Rather, these professionals must earn a Certificate of Completion from a state-approved training program. These programs are typically held in community colleges, vocational schools and in high schools.

Where to Find Accredited CNA Programs

Lies and deceit are an unfortunate truth when it comes to training programs designed for certified nursing assistant. A simple web search yields thousands of programs, all of which proclaim to be the “absolute best in CNA training!” While these CNA Training Programs may offer decent education, and even the required hours for certification in your state, if it’s not approved by your state’s board of nursing, then your education is useless in the eyes of the certifying agency.

Before you ever begin searching for a certified nursing assistant training program, consult your state’s nursing board for a list of accredited training programs. These training programs are available in on-campus settings as well as through online classrooms. If you decide to choose an online training program, go with one that features clinical application sessions, which may be required by your state to qualify for certification. Regardless of where or how you decide to train for this profession, upon completion you’ll be qualified to sit for the certified nursing assistant examination.

While this is considered an entry-level position within the healthcare industry, the amount of training and developed skills are ideal for those who wish to explore related careers or research other potential career options by working alongside professionals in one of the most dynamic and interesting career fields.

Career Opportunities as a Certified Nursing Assistant

The career of a certified nursing assistant is one filled with the excitement only a job in the healthcare field can provide. Although the basic job functions of a certified nursing assistant are universal, the location where you work can provide a wide array of individualized opportunities and challenges. Moreover, CNAs may desire to further their career, in which case they already have a solid working knowledge to pursue more advanced nursing credentials. Explore your career options as a CNA to find your ideal career path.

Hospital Facility

With an estimated 312,000 new certified nursing assistant jobs expected to develop between now and 2022, CNAs are in line for competitive employment and stable career futures. If you’re interested in working for a larger healthcare corporation, and enjoy the potential of upward mobility along with quality benefits, then hospital facilities may be for you. It’s important to note, due to the nature of these facilities, CNAs must be able to adapt and respond to rapidly changing scenarios. This is especially vital when working in emergency rooms. Due to their size and scope of practice, positions in a hospital may be easier to come by than private clinics. Also, hospitals often provide CNA training programs. Upon completion you’re not only eligible for examination, but you may have a higher chance of landing a position within the training hospital.

Nursing Home Facility

Do you enjoy working with the elderly and embrace all the challenges this environment provides? Certified nursing assistants who work in nursing homes are required to have a specific personality and skill set scope. In many states, additional training and special certification are required to be employed by nursing homes and other similar clinics. While this employment opportunity requires further training, salary and upward mobility are typically higher when compared to standard CNAs. If you’re interested in pursuing a certified nursing assistant career in a nursing home, refer to the Nursing Assistant Candidate Handbook released by your states nursing board. Within its pages you’ll find all pertinent training and examination requirements.

Expanding Your Nursing Career

Many CNAs begin this career to get a sneak peek into the lives of nurses and other advanced-level medical professionals. After this trial period, some decide to advance their own career and begin training for higher certifications and degrees. If you’re interested in pursuing a career as a registered nurse, licensed practical nurse or even a physician, your experience as a CNA is attractive to universities and prospective employers. Depending on your CNA training provider, you may be able to transfer coursework credits to go toward a high-level degree. Check out the nursing program at the University of New England for more information.