CNA Recertification Guide


This guide will walk you through the process of how a CNA gets recertified. It should prove helpful for current and aspiring CNAs.

What Is CNA Recertification?

CNA recertification, also known as CNA certification renewal, is the process of renewing your CNA license. CNA recertification must be completed in order to keep your license active. Because this process is regulated by different licensing administrations, the details of renewal will vary from state to state. If it is time for you to renew your CNA license, you have come to the right place. This guide lays out simple instructions to keep your license and career active. 

When Do I Need to Recertify?

In most states, you will be required to renew your license once every two years. Several months prior to your certificate’s expiration date, you should receive a notice reminding you that you will need to renew your license. This notice should come in the form of a letter or even an email. If you know that your expiration date is approaching, but you don’t receive this notice, you may need to reach out to the CNA board in your state to confirm your information and make any necessary changes. 

The requirements for renewing your CNA license can vary from state to state, but there is typically a general list that you will need no matter where you reside. These broad requirements include:

  • Proof of U.S. Citizenship-This can be in the form of a social security card, birth certificate, or passport
  • Proof of CNA work in the last 2 years- CNAs are required to work a specific number of hours to maintain employment eligibility. Working these hours helps to ensure that you don’t miss any vital changes in the CNA workplace. While this amount of hours varies, most states require 150 working hours within a 2-year timeframe. 
  • Criminal background check-A clean criminal background check is required by many facilities. In the event that you have any new convictions, it is vital that you don’t try to hide them. Be honest and admit to any allegations during the renewal process. Failure to disclose this information could lead to denial of your renewed license. 
  • Proof of Continuing Education Credits-Continuing Educations Credits (CEUs) are used to keep your CNA certification current. The CEUs are received by completing programs that teach new practices and help you stay up to date on any changes in your career as a CNA. Some states may require CNAs to meet a certain number of CEUs each year. 

How Does a CNA Get Recertified?

Recertification is usually a simple process. Follow the instructions below for a step-by-step renewal guide. 

1. Complete the renewal form. Most states offer both online and paper forms. Online renewal applications are usually processed much faster than paper forms. When completing this form, you will need some basic, such as your:

  • Social security number
  • Birthdate 
  • Proof of Continued Education Credits
  • Employment Verification
  • Proof of Citizenship

2. Submit a background check. You may be required to go in person to have your fingerprints taken, or you may be able to complete this process at home and send it back in the mail. The results for the background check usually take a week or less to receive. 

3. Wait for your renewal status. Depending on whether you submitted the application via mail or webpage and your licensing board, this can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. 

What Happens If My License Expires?

If you miss the deadline to renew your CNA license, your certification will become delinquent and you will be unable to work until it is renewed. You may also have to complete additional training and pay a delinquency fee in order for your license to become active again. If your license has been expired for over 2 years, you will likely have to complete your training and certification exam all over again. It is important to renew your license in a timely manner to avoid work interruptions and costly, additional steps. 

What If I Haven’t Worked As A CNA in 2 Years?

If you have not completed any work as a CNA in the past 2 years, renewing your license may be a bit more difficult. This situation will be handled differently depending on where you live. Each state will have different requirements. 

Some states will ask that you complete your certification exam again. In addition to studying and passing the exam, you will also be responsible for paying the fees for the state exam. 

Unfortunately, other states will require you to completely restart your CNA training. This means that you will have to complete up to 100 hours or more of hands-on clinical training and classroom instruction. You will also have to pass the certification exam again. This entire process is not only time-consuming, but it is also expensive. It is crucial that you work the required amount of hours every 2 years to make your recertification simple and avoid having to start your CNA training from the beginning. 

CNA’s do an important and life-changing job every day. It is important to keep your license current and up-to-date to continue furthering your career and taking care of those who need you most.