The CNA License
Licensure as a Certified Nursing Assistant signifies that the person holding the license has passed the requirements of the State Board of Nursing, and is ready to work within the CNA scope of practice.
CNAs are not licensed like LPNs and RNs but they must take state’s CNA certification exam to get the “CAN” credential and start working as certified nursing assistant. On this article we will use licensed and certified interchangeably.
The cost of the initial license can be rolled into the cost of the examination.
CNA License Verification
The license has an identifying number that the CNA can use when making application to an employer. The employer can verify that the person applying is actually certified, either by calling or using the Internet to contact the State Board of Nursing.
CNA License Renewal
The CNA license has an expiration date, usually annually or biannually. If the CNA keeps his or her address current with the State Board, and if the person is currently employed as a CNA, the person will be notified of the pending expiration and allowed a certain amount of time to pay the renewal fee to the Board by mail. If the license is allowed to expire, the CNA has a period of grace in which the license can be renewed before it is considered lapsed. The late renewal may incur an additional fee, and some states will not allow expired licenses to be renewed other than in person.
A lapsed CNA license implies that the holder did not renew within the specified amount of time. The lapsed license remains on file with the State Board, and can be verified by anyone. This can occur when someone takes a break from their work as a CNA. After a certain period, a lapsed license requires one to retake the test in order to renew the license.
Infractions of policy or protocol, operating outside one’s scope of practice, or disciplinary action can all result in suspension of the CNA license. In the case of suspension, the CNA must request a hearing in order to reinstate the license. There may be other penalties associated with reinstating the license, varying according to state law.
Suspension of a CNA License
The suspension of a CNA license can be initiated by the employer, or by the State Board itself. If a complaint is made to the State Board of Nursing, an investigation will be conducted into the matter. If the investigation clears the CNA of any wrongdoing, there will be no suspension unless the employer petitions to have the license suspended for other reasons. If there is a finding of inappropriate action on the CNA’s part, a hearing will be set for the CNA as well as a review board. Depending on the offense, the CNA may be suspended for a specific period of time, be fined, or permanently revoked.
While obtaining one’s CNA license has its advantages, once the license is obtained, it is paramount that the CNA keep the license in good standing. A previously suspended license does not look good on anyone’s record, even if it is later reinstated. Granting the license is a matter of trust that the CNA understands the code of conduct and scope of practice the license requires, and fulfills that mandate with honor.