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How Do I Update My CNA Certification if It Is Outdated?

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Certified Nurse Assistants (CNAs) provide basic patient care under the direction of a Registered Nurse or a Licensed Practical Nurse. Duties include bathing, grooming, feeding and measuring vital signs. CNAs are required to complete a certification course and pass an exam to earn their certification; certification must be renewed every 2 years in order to remain valid. If your CNA certification has lapsed, you will not be able to work as a CNA until your certification is current again.

Contact your state CNA registry, either online, by telephone or by mail to find out the status of your license. States have varying rules for updating your CNA certification, depending on whether you've simply missed the renewal deadline, or whether your license is considered expired or inactive. For example, the CNA registry in Missouri considers your license "inactive" if you haven't worked for 2 years as a CNA, and "expired" if you haven't worked for 5 years. Inactive licenses require a retake of the CNA exam, while expired licenses require you to repeat your coursework and exam.

Complete a CNA training course and/or take the CNA exam if your license is expired or inactive. If you license is expired, you will need to do both. If your license is inactive, you will need to pass the exam to get reinstated to the registry.

Submit an application for renewal, as well as supporting documentation if you've simply missed the deadline on the renewal period. Your employer may need to fill out a portion of the renewal form; you will also need to submit pay stubs proving you were paid working as a CNA within the past 2 years.

If you feel your inactive or expired status is incorrect, challenge your status. If you have completed CNA work for pay within the last 2 years, but your state registry lists your license as inactive (or expired if they show you haven't worked in 5 years), submit proof of your employment. Provide a state-issued identification card with your name, address, picture and signature, as well as pay stubs showing you've been paid for CNA work within the last 2 to 5 years.

Be patient. Once you've submitted your paperwork and supporting documentation, processing can take a few weeks.