Wherever there are nursing homes and long-term care facilities, there's a demand for nurses' aides or nursing assistants to staff them. These caregivers are known in Ohio as state tested nurse aides, or STNAs, and as certified nurses aides or nursing assistants -- CNAs -- in most other states. If you're an STNA in search of warmer weather or steadier employment, Florida offers a streamlined process for transferring your license.
To be eligible for your Florida CNA license, you must be a current Ohio STNA. If your license has lapsed, you'll have to apply for a new license in Florida instead of transferring your old one. Your license has to show on the Ohio registry of STNAs, and if you've ever been disciplined for abuse, neglect or exploitation of the residents under your care you aren't eligible for a Florida license. If you've had criminal convictions in your past, it won't necessarily prevent you from having a license. Florida's Department of Health will review your case individually, and make a decision based on your personal situation.
Florida has an online application process for STNAs and CNAs wanting to transfer their license, a process called reciprocity. You can fill out the online version of the application or download forms and mail them in to the state's Department of Health, whichever you prefer. Florida will send your personal information and an electronic fingerprint to the FBI for a background check, which usually takes about two weeks. You should hear back from the Department of Health within 30 days, but it can take longer if you don't fill out your application forms correctly. It's a good idea to keep a copy of the application for your own records.
Once you've received your Florida CNA license and found work, it's important to take time to review Florida's guidelines and legal requirements for CNAs. Florida has its own licensing cycle and continuing-education requirements, and its own code of ethical conduct. It's your responsibility to understand your duties and obligations, and to know the legal limits of your job.
CNAs in Florida
One noteworthy difference between Ohio STNAs and Florida CNAs is that STNAs work only in nursing homes and extended-care facilities, while Florida CNAs can work in hospitals, clinics and other settings. That creates additional opportunities for employment, though the majority of CNAs still work in extended care. Florida is one of the country's biggest employers of CNAs, ranking behind only California, New York and Texas. Wages are about the same in Ohio and Florida according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, with only a few cents separating average pay in the two states.
- Explore Health Careers: Nurses Aide/Nursing Assistant
- Ohio Department of Health: Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation Program
- Florida Department of Health: Reciprocity Application & Instructions for Certified Nursing Assistant
- Florida Board of Nursing: Certified Nursing Assistant by Reciprocity
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Outlook Handbook -- Nursing Aides, Orderlies, and Attendants
- U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics: Occupational Employment Statistics -- Nursing Assistants
Fred Decker is a trained chef and certified food-safety trainer. Decker wrote for the Saint John, New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, and has been published in Canada's Hospitality and Foodservice magazine. He's held positions selling computers, insurance and mutual funds, and was educated at Memorial University of Newfoundland and the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.