How to Transfer CNA License to Another State
Being a certified nursing assistant (CNA) is hugely rewarding in so many different ways. Many healthcare professionals agree that one of the best parts of the job is the security of knowing that wherever you live, you’ll be able to continue this in-demand career.
But what if you’re working as a CNA and you have to move? Luckily, moving from one state to another doesn’t mean you’ll have to start from the beginning all over again. With license reciprocity, you can transfer your existing license to new locations and keep working.
Continue reading to learn more about how to transfer a CNA license and how utilizing license reciprocity could help you move your nursing assistant career to your dream location.
Reasons to Transfer CNA License from State to State
There are many reasons you might wish to transfer your license from one state to another. For example, you may need to move to a different state to be closer to family or for a partner’s job transfer but want to keep working as a CNA. Or maybe you want to work as a travel CNA and hope for a long-term contract in another state.
Applying for reciprocity is a great way to move from one area to the next while retaining your existing education and certification. By simply transferring your CNA license, you can avoid the time and expense of retraining.
What Is Reciprocity?
Typically, each state has its own licensing laws that certain professions (including nursing) must abide by—and holding a license to work in one state doesn’t automatically mean you can work elsewhere. However, if you’ve already obtained your CNA license in one state but wish to work in another, you may be able to transfer your existing license through a process known as reciprocity.
Reciprocity (also called “endorsement”) allows you to transfer the skills, education, and experience you’ve already accrued from one state to another without having to start the licensing process all over again.
Through reciprocity, you can skip a large portion of the certification process, which allows you to get back to work much quicker than if you’d started from scratch. In states that have reciprocity agreements, you won’t need to retake or restart your CNA course (or, in most cases, your exams) to gain your license.
CNA Licensing Reciprocity Between States
In the same way that every state has unique requirements for earning a license the traditional way, each state differs in its reciprocity requirements. However, no matter where you’re going, you’ll need to complete several general steps to transfer your CNA license from state to state.
Step 1: Check Requirements and Apply
Start the reciprocity process by contacting the nursing board or nurse aide registry of the state you want to move to and checking what they require. Then, fill out an application for reciprocity and endorsement. Depending on the state, you may also need to contact the registry in your current (licensed) state to request license verification.
Step 2: Supply Information and Pay Fees
Your new state’s nursing board will ask for information to verify your identity and qualifications. This can include copies of your driver’s license, your Social Security number, your current CNA license information, recent employment, and proof of education. You may also need to complete a background check and pay a fee.
Step 3: Check Regulations
Wherever you’re moving to, it’s a good idea to check the nursing regulations in your new state to ensure that you’re up to date on all local laws. You should also check how often your new CNA license will need to be renewed and if there are any continuing education requirements to maintain licensure.
Transferring Between Non-Reciprocal States
Some states, like Michigan, have a list of approved states for CNA license reciprocity. Only license holders from these states can transfer their licenses to Michigan, while licensees from other states must start over with the CNA certification process.
Not all states have these CNA license reciprocity agreements, but most will still allow you to transfer your existing license. However, you might need to pass additional exams or fill out additional paperwork to prove recent CNA work experience.
For example, in Delaware, out-of-state CNAs cannot work in a nursing home without a Delaware certificate. To earn a Delaware certificate, you must hold a current out-of-state license and have at least three months of full-time work experience within the last 24 months (equal to 420 clock hours) or have completed a training program equal to 150 hours. CNAs from Maryland must also hold an additional current Geriatric Nursing Assistant certificate.
In California, unless you’re a new license holder in another state, you have to submit proof of nursing-related work in a facility within the past two years.
CNAs hoping to transfer from out-of-state to Illinois must show evidence that they have an equivalent level of training required within the state, that they’re in good standing with their current state registry, and have received no allegations of abuse, misappropriation of property, or neglect.
To be eligible for reciprocity in Indiana, you must hold a license in your current state and be in good standing with the local registry. You will also need to pass a written test administered by Ivy Tech Community College.
How to Transfer CNA License to Florida
Moving your existing out-of-state CNA license to work in Florida is a fairly straightforward process. First, you need to contact the Florida Board of Nursing and fill out and sign an endorsement application. You also must schedule and pay for an electronic fingerprint appointment.
The board then determines your eligibility and contacts your former jurisdiction to verify your current license. If the board cannot get verification, they’ll send you a license verification form to submit to the state.
Once the above has been received, verified, and approved by the Florida Board of Nursing, you will be added to the registry and can work as a CNA in the state.