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The Authoritative Guide on CNA Renewal

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You’ve probably gone through a lot to receive your CNA certification, but if you think that’s all the work you’ll have to do to maintain your CNA status, think again. Most states require CNAs to renew their license at least every two years through the state’s nursing board or licensing authority. So if you’re wondering how to renew CNA license in your state, we’ll walk you through the process. In most cases, this won’t be so difficult if your license hasn’t been expired for a long time, and CNA license renewal will consist of little more than filling out a few forms, providing proof of qualification, and paying the applicable renewal fee. And if you aren’t sure whether this applies to you, continue on for more details on CNA renewal.

The Authoritative Guide on CNA Renewal

Why is CNA Renewal Necessary?

CNA recertification is required in order to safeguard the public health and welfare. After all, CNAs are tasked with taking care of the elderly and disabled, and a nursing assistant that isn’t kept up-to-date with the latest health standards can be a risk in the workplace. You might remember having taken the CNA competency exam already after completing training, which congress requires every state to do. Passing this exam grants you a CNA license that shows you are qualified with the skills, knowledge, and abilities to offer safe healthcare to patients. However, that license does not last forever, which is why CNA license renewal must occur every few years or so in most states in the US.


CNA renewal - CNA license renewalFirst things first, you’ll need to find out what your state requires of you. Visit your state’s nursing board or health department in order to find out the necessary steps you’ll need to take. For example, CNAs in California will have to visit the California Department of Public Health while CNAs in Florida will have to visit the state’s board of nursing. This all varies from state to state. They’ll often either have information for you or the required forms will be provided online. Some things to also keep in mind:

  • You will need to have worked continuously for your state’s minimum mandated hours
  • Some states require continued education to keep up to date on the latest health standards
  • Your license must not be null and void
  • Your record or background screening must be clean
  • Renewal fees must be submitted


If your CNA license has expired, you will need to renew it before you can continue working as a nursing assistant. Your CNA license should have an expiration date written on it somewhere, although if you can’t find it, we’ll also talk about how you can verify whether your license is valid or not. Most CNA licenses are valid for two years from the issue date, but check with your state to make double sure!

How to Verify Your CNA License

If you’re not sure whether your CNA license is valid or not, you should consider taking these steps to have it verified:

1. Get a copy of your current CNA certificate
2. Search for the local address or the website of your state’s licensing authority / nurse aide registry
3. Check through the online license verification system; a few states can inform you about the status of your license through their online verification system
4. Visit your state’s licensing office personally if they do not offer online license verification. If you are,  carry along your license certificate and number, issue date, serial number, and any other relevant documents which might be needed for verification purpose.
5. Pay verification fees if applicable

It’s also important to remember that your license can be obtained in two ways:

Your first option is to request them to send a hard copy of the license to your mailing address, which is kept on record with them. It may take a minimum of 2 weeks for the license to reach you. The second option is asking them to send it to you via email, which can be quite convenient as you won’t have to wait for it in the mail.

How to Renew CNA License

Now then, let’s move on to how to renew CNA license. Key points to keep in mind for CNA license renewal are the following:

  • You must inquire through your state’s health department whether the CNA renewal forms are automatically mailed to you or whether you must get them on your own
  • If your state offers online CNA renewal, take advantage of that as it is both quicker and more convenient
  • After properly researching, the next step is to fill out the CNA renewal forms carefully
  • All the details regarding the working hours, place of employment, social security number, and so on should be filled out with care and the respective proof of qualification must be attached along with the form
  • Completed renewal forms must be submitted to the city office of the respective health departments with the latest being the end of the year
  • Pay all applicable CNA license renewal fees
  • The entire CNA renewal process can take anywhere from 2 to 3 weeks
  • Mark down your new license’s expiration date to keep up-to-date with your CNA recertification, the earlier you complete it, the better

If you haven’t been working as a CNA for a long period of time or failed to renew your license, you may have to complete the competency evaluation test again. However, if you haven’t been working and your certificate has expired, many states will allow you to renew your license without a late fee within a certain timeframe. Ask your state’s nursing board or licensing authority about this.

What Happens When Your License Has Expired for Too Long?

CNA Renewal - How to Renew CNA LicenseIf your license has expired for too long (past the delinquency timeframe) and CNA renewal isn’t possible, the following steps will have to be completed in order to become a certified nursing assistant once again:

  • Complete a CNA training program once again either from a local community college, trade school, or nursing school
  • Complete the CNA competency exam once you’ve finished with your training
  • Complete CNA renewal every second year in order to continue working as a nursing assistant

Obviously, it’s better to avoid having your license expire since it will take longer to get a new one than it is to complete CNA renewal. You’ll also have to complete the training, exam, and pay the applicable fees once again, which nobody wants to do.