How to Acquire a Multi State CNA License

Travel nursing has opened a world of new opportunities for certified nursing assistants. CNAs can now take the best, highest paying shifts from facilities all over the country. Before you can accept a cross state shift, however, are you aware of the status of your legislation? Different states have different CNA licensure requirements and state nursing boards. Even if you are certified in one state, that does not mean your credentials will necessarily carry over to another. 

What can be done, in this instance? Is it possible to apply for a multi state CNA license? Read on to find out, before you take a CNA gig in another state. 

Should I just get licensed in an NLC state?

You may have heard of the Nurse Licensure Compact. If you are licensed in a member state, you can practice in areas under the compact without much trouble. Is acquiring a CNA license as simple as getting certified, in one of these NLC states? Unfortunately, that is simply not the case. 

At the time of writing, the NLC only applies to two kinds of healthcare professionals: Registered Nurses and Licensed Practical Nurses/Licensed Vocational Nurses. CNAs, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and other HCPs cannot enjoy the advantages afforded by the NLC. A true multi state CNA license is currently not available, but there are ways you can attain permission to practice in other states. 

What is Reciprocity? 

In order to practice in other states, you need to apply for reciprocity. With CNA reciprocity, you can transfer your qualifications and credentials to another state without having to apply for a new license, from scratch. Each state has different reciprocity requirements and processes. For the most part, you want to maintain good standing with your current CNA license, as well as a clean criminal record. Expect to finish your fair share of paperwork as well, though how much you have to sign will depend on the state. 

How do I find the requirements? 

As was mentioned earlier, different states will ask for different requirements.. Before you proceed, research whether or not they have reciprocity at all, since not all states offer this kind of program. If you must, contact the State Board of Nursing for the area that you wish to work and inquire about it directly. 

If the answer is “yes,” you can ask for a CNA reciprocity form that you will fill out and submit. These forms also typically have the reciprocity requirements that you will be expected to fulfill, before you can send your application. 

For example: Alaska’s CNA reciprocity program will ask the following from you, if you are a US Citizen: 

  1. Proof that you completed a state-approved CNA training program 
  2. Ownership of an unrestricted CNA certification in any US state/territory OR from a Canadian province/territory, provided they are active and approved by the Alaskan Nursing Board  
  3. Passing a competency exam 
  4. A $275.00 application fee

Provided that you read all the instructions and fulfill all your requirements, the process should be smooth and painless. 

Where can I apply for reciprocity? 

At the time of writing, these are the states that offer reciprocity programs for CNAs.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *