If you're a certified nurses' aide or nursing assistant, you can practice anywhere with hospitals, nursing homes or other long-term care facilities. Demand is especially high in states such as Florida, where retirees gravitate to the sunshine and warm winters. A CNA who's licensed anywhere else in the country can easily become licensed in Florida.
Under reciprocity, or the recognition between states of licensing, the Florida Board of Nursing extends a welcoming hand to CNAs from every other state. As long as your license in your home state is current and you haven't been subject to any disciplinary or legal action, you're eligible for a license in Florida. You can complete the streamlined application process online from your current location.
You start the process by completing your online application or completing and mailing a paper application. You'll need to get an electronic fingerprint as part of your application process, so the Florida Board of Nursing can complete your background check. The board will also contact the board of nursing in your current state to verify your license. If necessary, the board will send you a verification form, which you'll have to take to your own state's board for completion. Once your current license is verified and the background check completed, you'll received a Florida license. Apply well before you need your license, in case of any delays.
If you've every had a criminal conviction for anything more serious than a traffic offence, you'll need to disclose it as part of the application process. If you provide the appropriate information, the board will consider your case on its own merits. As long as the conviction doesn't directly reflect on your ability to reliably perform your duties as a CNA, the board has leeway to approve you for licensing. Don't try to hide your history, because that will disqualify you outright.
Once you receive your Florida license, you must to learn and observe the same regulations as any of the state's other CNAs. If you move after you get your license, you'll need to notify the registry of your new address. Your Florida license is good for two years, and you'll need to pay a fee to renew it. You'll also need to work in your profession for at least part of that 24 months and document at least 12 hours of in-service training for each calendar year you're licensed.
- Explore Health Careers: Nurses Aide/Nursing Assistant
- 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
- Florida Board of Nursing: Certified Nursing Assistant by Reciprocity
- Florida Board of Nursing: Reciprocity Application & Instructions for Certified Nursing Assistant
- Florida Board of Nursing: Renewal -- Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)
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.