How to CNA License Transfer from State to State

Traveling nursing is the best way for Certified Nursing Assistants to find lucrative, high-paying temporary gigs. It also lets them build a varied work portfolio while taking in sights and experiences unique to the states they temporarily reside in. All this is true and a huge benefit, but licensing can be an issue. Your CNA practice license is specific to the state you acquired it in. You may need to jump a few hoops in order to transfer your license and practice cross-state. If your heart is set on travel CNA nursing, this guide will teach you all you need to know about CNA license transfer.

Misconceptions about the NLC and “multi-state CNA licenses”

You may have heard about the Nursing Licensure Compact (NLC). This is a cross-state agreement that allows nurses to practice across different states, with minimum hassle or paperwork. You may be asking yourself: Does your CNA license transfer between states, under this legislation? Sadly, the NLC only applies to Registered Nurses (RN) and Licensed Practical Nurses(LPN)/Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN). Other HCPs, like Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRN) must hold licenses in individual states.

 If you wanted to know how to get a multi state cna license, you are asking yourself the wrong question. Luckily, obtaining cross-state licensure does not necessarily mean starting from scratch. 

Reciprocity and you

If your home state has a reciprocity agreement with your target work state, life will be far easier for you. For the uninitiated, nurse reciprocity between states allows nurses to transfer their licenses without having to start from scratch. More often than not, you will simply be asked to fill in some paperwork and pay a fine after you apply. It is that simple. Reciprocity requirements will vary depending on the state, but you typically want to have active CNA certification and a clean reputation with your home state (which usually means a clean criminal record, among other things.) 

Before anything else, you will want to contact your State Board of Nursing to ask whether or not they have nurse license reciprocity with your target state. If the answer is yes, you may ask them for a reciprocity form that you will fill out and fulfill as soon as possible. Most states will provide you with a reciprocity form that will contain every task and requirement you will need to complete, in order to transfer your licensure. For example: CNA license transfer to California will require you to submit the following: 

  • CNA Reciprocity Application
  • Fingerprints obtained from a Live Scan Agency and a properly completed Request for Live Scan Service (BCIA8016) form
  • Copy of your out-of-state CNA license
  • Proof of paid nursing or nursing-related work over the last two years.
  • Verification of Current Nurse Assistant Certification (CDPH 931) 

Even if they do not have a reciprocity form, you can rely on your State Board of Nursing to fill you in on what you need to do, and who you need to talk to to transfer your license.

What if there is no reciprocity? 

Not every state is a nurse reciprocity state. If this is the case, then you have no choice but you have to start from the beginning of the certification process. You have to take their exams, go through the mandated classes and fulfill the state’s various unique requirements.