CNA License Transfer & Reciprocity

Welcome to our comprehensive guide on CNA reciprocity. Dive into the process of transferring your Certified Nursing Assistant (or Nurse Aide) license between states, understand the details and costs of reciprocity requirements, and discover which states offer free reciprocity. On this page, you’ll find all the up-to-date information on CNA license reciprocity, including application forms & fees.

To have your CNA certification recognized in another state through reciprocity, you must already possess a CNA license. If you’re seeking to obtain your first CNA license and be placed on your state’s CNA registry, please explore our CNA License Registration page for comprehensive guidance and requirements.

What is CNA reciprocity?

CNA reciprocity is a process that allows Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) to transfer their certification and work credentials from one state to another. This means that if you are a CNA certified in one state and you wish to work in another state, you can apply for reciprocity to have your certification recognized and accepted in the new state without the need for additional training or testing. This makes it convenient to continue your CNA career in a new state. In the event that the states do not have the same requirements, candidates will need to fulfill some additional requirements before being eligible to work in that state.

How do I transfer my CNA license to another state?

Transferring or changing your Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) license to another state involves reciprocity. Here’s how it usually works:

  1. Contact the New State’s Nursing Board: The first step is to get in touch with the nursing board or regulatory agency in the state where you intend to work. They will provide you with information on their specific reciprocity requirements and application process.
  2. Meet Eligibility Criteria: Most states have certain eligibility criteria that you must meet to qualify for reciprocity. These criteria typically include having an active CNA certification in good standing and having completed a state-approved CNA training program.
  3. Submit an Application: You will need to complete an application for CNA reciprocity. This application will typically require you to provide information about your current certification, training, and any additional documentation requested by the new state. Depending on the state, the application is usually submitted online, by email, or by mail.
  4. Pay Any Required Fees: Some states may charge fees for processing your reciprocity application while for others it is free. Be sure to include the appropriate fees with your application, if applicable.
  5. Verification of Certification: The new state’s nursing board will often verify your current CNA certification and check your status in the state where you are currently certified.
  6. Wait for Approval: The processing time for CNA reciprocity applications can vary from state to state and can take a few weeks. You should check with the new state’s nursing board for estimated processing times.
  7. Receive Approval: Once your application is approved, you will be issued a CNA certification in the new state, allowing you to work legally as a full-time or travel CNA there.

Overview of CNA reciprocity in the US

The table below shows an overview of the reciprocity procedures in all US States, including their fees and application type. Click on the individual state to view all the relevant information and links to successfully submit your reciprocity application in that state.

StateApplication feeApplication type
AlabamaFree of chargeThrough Employer
CaliforniaOnly fingerprint feesMail or Fax
Connecticut$55Mail or Fax
FloridaOnly fingerprint feesOnline
GeorgiaFree of chargeMail
IdahoFree of chargeEmail, Mail or Fax
Written exam retake
IowaFree of chargeMail or Fax
Kansas$20Mail or Email
KentuckyFree of chargeOnline
Louisiana$35Online or Mail
MaineFree of chargeOnline or Mail
+ Fingerprint fees
MassachusettsFree of chargeMail
MinnesotaFree of chargeEmail
MissouriFree of chargeOnline
MontanaFree of chargeOnline
Nebraska$25-$30 for Abuse
+ Fingerprint fees
New Hampshire$63Online
New JerseyDependsPhone, Mail
New MexicoFree of chargeEmail, Mail or Fax
New York$50Online or Mail
North Carolina$188Online
North DakotaFree of chargeOnline
OhioFree of chargeMail, Email or Fax
OklahomaFree of chargeOnline
PennsylvaniaFree of chargeOnline
Rhode Island$35Mail
South CarolinaFree of chargeOnline
South DakotaFree of chargeOnline
TexasOnly criminal history
check fees
VirginiaFree of chargeOnline
Washington$85Online or Mail
West VirginiaFree of chargeOnline
Table 1: Overview of CNA reciprocity in the US

Frequently asked questions and answers about CNA license reciprocity

Why would I want to transfer my CNA license to another state?

There are various reasons why you would want to transfer your CNA license to another state. Whether it’s due to a move or the desire to work as a travel CNA, transferring your license enables you to work in a new state. It’s important to understand that CNA licenses are state-specific, necessitating the transfer to practice elsewhere. This transfer process, called reciprocity, differs by state, so it’s essential to consult the nursing board in your new state for specific requirements.

How much does it cost to transfer my CNA license to another state?

Transferring your CNA license to another state is free for some states, but typically comes with a fee, which varies depending on the state. Additionally, in states where you need to send your fingerprints, it incurs additional costs which vary by state. An overview of the application fees can be seen in the table above or can be checked at the specific state’s nursing board.

Which ones are the free CNA reciprocity states?

The states without any application fees for CNA reciprocity are Alabama, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Florida (only fingerprint fees), Kentucky, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas (only criminal history check fees), Virginia, and West Virginia.

How long does it take to transfer the CNA license to another state?

The time it takes to transfer your CNA license can vary. On average, the process can take anywhere from a few weeks to a couple of months. Factors such as the state’s processing time, completeness of your application, and any additional requirements can influence the timeline.

To ensure a smooth and timely transfer, it’s advisable to start the process well in advance of your planned move or job change. Additionally, reaching out to the nursing board in both your current and future states can provide you with a more accurate estimate of the timeframe involved.

How do I submit my CNA Reciprocity request?

How you submit your CNA license transfer request depends on the state. While in some states it can be done online via an online application or by email, most of the states require you to send the request by mail or fax. See the CNA reciprocity table above for an overview.