CNA Recertification Requirements

CNAs work in hospitals, nursing homes and some care for patients in their homes.
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CNAs, formally referred to as certified nursing assistants, provide basic bedside care to patients in a variety of health care settings. Most states require CNAs to obtain a license and renew their certification every few years. Although requirements vary by state, recertification is critical to continue employment as a CNA. If your certification lapses, some states will suspend your license indefinitely.

State Governing Boards

States that require a license to practice professionally as a CNA administer the requirements for certification and recertification. Generally, each state’s Board of Nursing or Board of Health administers rules and regulations. Some states offer different levels of certification for nursing assistants to perform more nursing functions such as giving medication or drawing blood from patients.


After CNAs complete an accredited training program and become certified in their state, most states require CNAs to be employed in a nursing-related occupation for a specific timeframe to become recertified. Generally, the timeframe for recertification is one to two years. If employment lapses during that time, the state may require applying for a new license. Applying for a new license is usually more costly then renewing a certification.

Continuing Education

CNAs typically continue their education throughout their career. Most states require 12 to 24 hours of continuing education for recertification. Each state administers the requirements for continuing education, but may include coursework from an accredited online training program, an accredited school or with the current employer.

Application and Fee

An application and fee is usually required for recertification. The application verifies the CNA's employment, continuing education and current status of their certification. Some states allow CNAs to renew their licenses online and others require a written application. States often perform a background check to ensure CNAs weren’t involved in any criminal activity during the time they were certified. Background checks are done to ensure patients’ safety.

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