CNAs and the Basics of Reciprocity

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So, just what exactly is reciprocity? Those who currently work in the allied healthcare field as CNAs (certified nursing assistants) or have plans to become a CNA will need to become very familiar with the concept of reciprocity. Knowing what reciprocity means is of the essence, especially in this modern day and age where people relocate to different regions more often than in the recent past.

Reciprocity is the multi-step process that permits CNAs who hold out-of-state certification to obtain a new CNA certificate in a receiving state, pending approval from the new state’s CNA registry or board of nursing. In other words, reciprocity agreements let CNAs officially transfer their certification from state to state. This allows CNAs to legally work as nursing assistants in their new home states.

In order to successfully complete the process of reciprocity and receive a CNA certificate from the new state of residence, a CNA will need to fulfill one or more state-specific requirements. The reciprocity process can be complicated at times because each state has different requirements for CNA training, clinical hours, continuing education (CEs), certification renewal, and so forth.

Pre-existing reciprocity agreements allow the different states to sort through variances in CNA certification requirements to more easily facilitate certificate transfers and fill healthcare job openings with qualified, experienced candidates. The vast majority of states in the U.S. have reciprocity policies in place for CNAs and other types of allied healthcare workers to transfer their certificates.

When would a CNA need to be concerned with the process of reciprocity? Well, a CNA who plans to move out of state needs to become familiar with reciprocity if he or she wants to obtain CNA certification in his or her new state of residence. Therefore, a CNA who intends to relocate to another state will need to start making preparations far in advance by looking up the CNA requirements in the new state.

Each state has individual laws and regulations regarding CNA certification. As a consequence, the state in which a nurse aide initially earned his or her CNA certification could quite possibly have some very different requirements for CNA training and continuing education than the state where he or she has plans to relocate.

In addition, the number of training hours required to become a CNA can drastically differ from state to state. As a classic example, the state of Alabama requires nurse aides to obtain 75 hours of occupational training to attain eligibility for certification as a CNA. The training hours are partitioned in the following way: 59 hours of class and return lab demonstration time, and 16 hours of hands-on clinical practicum externship.

Let’s consider the next scenario. A nurse aide who went to school and attained a CNA certification in Alabama ends up moving to the state of California several years down the line. Now an issue may have arisen since California requires more training hours to get a CNA certification than Alabama. California requires 160 hours of occupational training to become a CNA, more than double the 75 hours of training required by Alabama.

CNA training hours in California are partitioned in the following manner: 60 hours of classroom theory schooling along with 100 hours of hands-on clinical practicum externship. In this complicated situation, the CNA from Alabama who wants to move to California would fall short of exactly one hour of classroom theory schooling and a whopping 84 hours of clinical externship training.

In this case, the receiving state of California would utilize their pre-existing reciprocity agreement policies to determine whether or not to grant CNA certification to the nurse aide from Alabama. California’s reciprocity agreement entails policies to accept out-of-state nurse aides and grant them CNA certification if they can prove they have accrued at least two years of recent work experience as a CNA in the previous home state.

Other state boards of nursing might outright refuse to issue a CNA certificate to the nurse aide from Alabama, and consequently ask the person to complete additional nursing assistant training that fulfills the new state’s schooling requirements. Also, some states may opt to grant CNA certification to the nurse aide from Alabama due to his or her number of years of work experience as a nursing assistant.

Still, a few states may make the choice to grant a conditional or provisional CNA certification to the nurse aide from Alabama pending one or more specific requirements that will need to be met. The Alabama nurse aide may be required to complete additional schooling, submit proof of completion of specific continuing education or in-service coursework, or successfully challenge the CNA state test in the new state of residence.

The theme of this posting is the overall importance of empowering oneself with as much knowledge as possible about the reciprocity process for CNAs, especially if an out-of-state move is planned in the near or distant future. After all, knowledge is power. It would be a crying shame to struggle to secure employment in one’s new state of residence due to a lack of awareness regarding the process of CNA reciprocity.

Train to become a certified nursing assistant (CNA) in approximately two weeks at Legacy Healthcare Careers, a CNA School in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas. The staff at Legacy Healthcare Careers can be reached 24 hours a day at (682)626-5266 so prospective students can jump-start a life-transforming career change in the healthcare field.

Legacy Healthcare Careers delivers affordable, quality career training as well as job placement assistance. Pick up the telephone and call (682)626-5266 to enroll.

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CNAs Must Know About Reciprocity if They Want to Work!

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NOTE: The following blog entry is a guest post written by nurse consultant Victoria Randle, APN, NP-C (pictured), proprietor of CNA Instructor Consultants LLC. Ms. Randle can be contacted via email at info@thesecretcocktail.com or on her Facebook page entitled “The CNA Instructors’ Secret Cocktail” (https://www.facebook.com/thesecretcocktail/).

What in the world does reciprocity mean?

When you take the step to further your education and become a CNA, it is important that you know all of your responsibilities associated with this level of education. This encompasses various responsibilities to others, but most importantly to yourself. You must know your scope of practice, your continuing education requirements, how to re-certify and even how or when to obtain reciprocity.

If you are a CNA (certified nursing assistant), you may have heard others talk about reciprocity. What in the world does this word even mean? Reciprocity is the act / process of transferring your CNA certification from one state to another. Believe it or not, each state has its own laws regarding requirements of CNAs that may be different than the state in which you originally obtained your certification.

An example of this may be the number of educational hours needed to become a CNA. The number of educational hours needed to become a CNA differs in each state. For instance, the state of Tennessee requires that a nursing assistant obtain 75 hours of training to become eligible for certification as a CNA. These hours are divided up as follows: 59 hours of classroom /lab practicum and 16 hours of clinical externship.

Let’s say you obtained your CNA certification in Tennessee and decide five years later to move to Texas. Well, Texas requires more hours than Tennessee to become certified as a CNA. In Texas it is required that a CNA must have at least 100 hours of training. These hours are divided up as follows: 60 hours of class/lab practicum and 40 hours of clinical externship. In this case, the CNA is lacking one hour of classroom instruction and 24 hours of clinical instruction.

It is up to the accepting state of Texas to determine if they are willing to accept this CNA’s education from Tennessee for certification as a CNA in Texas. Some states may respond with a solid NO, and therefore require the individual to re-enroll in another CNA program that adheres to the new state’s requirements.

Some states may accept the CNA from Tennessee based on their number of years of experience accrued since obtaining the CNA certification. Other states may accept the CNA pending conditions such as additional training hours, continuing education hours, or the ability of the individual to pass the new state’s CNA state exam.

So, it is extremely important that once you obtain your CNA certification, you become knowledgeable in how many hours you have in classroom versus clinical education. It is also important that if you anticipate moving, you fully understand the new state’s requirements for CNAs. Nothing is worse than moving out of state and having a hard time finding work because you were not aware of how reciprocity works beforehand.

The best of luck to you in your journey to become a CNA. The career is so rewarding! If you are looking to start a CNA school or already own one, maybe I can help. Contact me for consulting assistance for your CNA school. I will be happy to help!

Victoria Randle NP-C, CNA Instructor Consultants LLC

EMAIL – info@thesecretcocktail.com

FACEBOOK – www.facebook.com/thesecretcocktail

WEBSITE – www.thesecretcocktail.com

YOUTUBE – The Secret Cocktail

This is a cordial reminder that if you want to pursue a rewarding, invigorating healthcare career as a nurse aide in the Dallas/Fort Worth area of Texas, the caring members of staff at Legacy Healthcare Careers Nursing Assistant School can assist you in turning your occupational dreams into reality in as little as 7 days! Enroll today.

Legacy Healthcare Careers offers a 7-day CNA program to help jump-start your legacy. Please place a telephone call to our 24-hour hotline at (682)313-6404, visit the school’s website (www.LegacyHealthcareCareers.com) to submit an online application to the CNA program or feel free to browse through the assortment of enlightening blog posts at www.LegacyHealthcareCareers.org for more information about becoming a nursing assistant in just one week.

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