Certified Nursing Assistants are only qualified to work for two years after passing their certification test. This certification period is a standard across the country, so no matter what state you work in, you will have to renew your certification every 24 months. Without renewal, training and testing must be repeated from the beginning. Some states have different requirements for the renewal process, so preparing yourself in advance is a great way to avoid unnecessary training and expenses.
Some states require that nurse aides complete a certain number of continuing education credits to renew their certificate. The reason for this is to make sure that nursing assistants are still developing their professional capabilities and continuing to improve their performance. In general, the states that have this renewal prerequisite only require between 8-12 hours of class credit. There are many options for the types of classes that qualify for credit, and most are beneficial skills for CNAs to possess. For example, taking a class in the proper protocol for AIDS patient treatment will qualify for continuing education credit and also improve your professional resume for future employment opportunities. These credits may be required, but taking advantage of the opportunity to learn more can make your career richer and more fulfilling.
The basic process for certification varies between states, but online renewals are becoming the new standard. States are updating their Nurse Aide Registries to allow CNAs to quickly and efficiently update their certification status. The process requires proof of employment, and only nurse aides that have worked at least two hours during the course of their certification period will be able to renew their certificates. Some states are more old-fashioned and still require a mail-in form to be completed. The form is provided on the Nurse Aide Registry, and must be completed and mailed in before the CNA certificate has expired. There is almost always a renewal fee.
There is no reason to panic if your renewal is overdue. Many states allow for a several week grace period for any forgetful nurse aides to renew their certificate. On top of this, a reminder is sent to every nursing assistant at least two weeks before their title is set to expire. The Nurse Aide Registry is an extremely useful tool to keep track of the date you passed the competency evaluation and can help you keep track of the time until your title expires.