Can I Use My CNA License in a Different State?

You’ve taken the classes, studied hard and passed the state certification test.  Congratulations!  You are now a certified nurse assistant!  At some point in your career, however, you may find yourself relocating to another state.  Because certifications are administered on the state level, you will have to obtain a new certification if you wish to work in the state you are relocating to.  How do you make this change?  The answer to that question depends on the state you are moving to.

Requirements for obtaining CNA license

The requirements for obtaining CNA licensure by endorsement (the name given to the process of asking one state to honor your certification from another state) vary state to state.  As long as you are in good standing with your original state of licensure (have not had your license suspended or revoked and have no complaints against you) most states require only that you apply for endorsement (also known as reciprocity), submit a copy of your original certification (and allow them to verify it), and pay a fee.  Once your original certification is verified, your new certification will be mailed to you.  For some states, this is sufficient.  Some also require you to submit proof that you have worked a specific number of hours as a CNA.  If you cannot meet these “minimum hour” requirements, you will have to retake the written and clinical skills test in the new state.

Obtaining CNA license in Different States

Some states require every “endorsement applicant” to retake the written and clinical skills test.  In these states, you must submit an application, pay a fee, and schedule a testing date. You will be issued a new certification provided that you pass the written and skills tests.

The state of Alabama is unique in that you can only get an endorsement CNA certification by working in a nursing home there.  Nursing homes in Alabama are allowed to hire you under your original certification.  They will then file the paperwork for you, and obtain your reciprocal certification from the state of Alabama registry.

Because CNA certifications are governed by the CNA registry for each state, you will need to contact the registry for the state you are moving to.  They can provide you with the requirements for that state.  Many registries have websites, providing endorsement information in the FAQ section.  A complete list of CNA registries for all 50 states can be downloaded via the link at: HERE.  The list provides web addresses, regular mail addresses, and phone numbers for each state.

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Jakie S

I have been a CNA in the state of California since 1995. One of my passions in life is to help people and help others who want to expand their careers and become CNAs.

2 Responses

  1. Renae says:

    I have a current CNA certificate in Illinois, passed the competency examination, and have worked as a CNA in a nursing home from 10-13-10 to June 9th, 2011. I live in Illinois and want to transfer my CNA lisence by endorsement or reciprocity to obtain a CNA certification in the state of Indiana. Can you help me? and tell me how to do this, or what I have to do?
    Your help would be greatley appreciated. Please tell me asap because I have work now. Will they make me waste my time and money by taking their test and skill test?

  2. Renae says:

    Can you give me the answer to this question? They say I have to take a written test at IVy Tech College. Is this true? Why?

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