Since the amount of effort, time, and expense required to obtain a CNA license is comparatively not significant, some CNAs don't take the status of their licenses seriously enough. Even if you only just received your license or will be receiving it soon, you should be aware of how to verify its status should the need arise. Note that it probably will again and again during your career, as many situations require CNAs to prove that they are legitimately licensed.
Reasons to Verify Your CNA License
If you believe that you possess a valid CNA license, why would you need to verify its status? First of all, do you even know when it is due to expire? Even if it was recently issued or renewed, do you know if any complaints have been placed on your record? Furthermore, how can you be sure that the information on your license is accurate?
Common reasons to verify a CNA license include:
- Is it active? - The first and most obvious reason to need to verify a CNA license is to check whether it is currently active. By the same token, you may need to verify your license simply to figure out when it is due to expire. It is important to confirm the status of your CNA license at certain times, including whenever you need to apply for jobs because prospective employers will definitely check.
- Is it clear? - One of the main reasons that states require CNAs to be licensed is to track complaints that may be filed against them. Without this kind of oversight, CNAs who have received serious complaints or an excessive number of complaints may continue on without any sort of review. Similarly, CNAs who have faced disciplinary action may need to take additional steps to show the state that they are competent to continue working.
- Is it accurate? - One of the worst things that you can do concerning your CNA license is to assume that everything on it is accurate. Just because the initial copy of your license was proven accurate doesn't mean that it has remained so. Complaints may inaccurately appear on your record, for instance, or your name may have changed but wasn't updated. You don't want prospective employers to find inaccurate information, so it is wise to occasionally verify your CNA license.
- When does it expire? - Sometimes, you just need to verify your CNA license to confirm when it is due to expire, for instance, if you forgot to make a note of it on your calendar. It is also smart to confirm the expiration date every few months to ensure that nothing goes awry. It is important to keep your license number stored somewhere, but if you misplace it, you can verify your CNA license to obtain it.
Ways to Verify Your CNA License
You may not be worried about verifying your CNA license at the moment, but it pays to know what to do when the time comes. It is not a matter of if the time will come because it definitely will, as evidenced by the information above.
The most common ways to verify a CNA license include:
- Online verification - The vast majority of state licensing authorities that handle CNA licensing maintain websites and online portals that streamline various aspects of the licensing process. This typically includes the ability to verify the status of a CNA license, which can usually be done by providing your full name or your license number. Online records are usually public, and they contain information like your current employer; your original certification date; the expiration date of your license; and any complaints that have been filed against you.
- Verification by mail - Some states do not offer online verification, so you may have no choice but to verify by mail. If you need a physical copy of your license and the information on your record, you will have to complete a request form and submit it to your state's licensing authority. Note that you may need your license number. You may also have to contact the licensing authority to request this information, and some states will only issue paper copies one time.
- Verification via third party - Finally, if you are actively seeking employment and don't have a copy of your license for a prospective employer, that employer may verify the status of your CNA license through your state's nurse aide registry. Again, however, this type of registry may not exist in your state, so this option may not be available.
How to Deal with Incorrect Information
If you discover errors or other problems while verifying your CNA license, it is important to take steps to correct them as quickly as possible. That's especially true if your record inaccurately shows records of complaints or disciplinary actions against you, as these can threaten the status of your license and future employability. You can check your licensing authority's website to see if they have a process in place. Otherwise, contact them directly.
What to Do if Your License is Expired
What happens if you go to perform a routine check of your CNA license only to learn that it has expired? First, if you believe that it should not be expired yet, contact your state's licensing authority. Next, if it has legitimately expired but not too long ago, you should be able to renew it by paying late fees and other charges. Finally, if it expired long ago or has lapsed or been deemed null or void, you may have to undergo training or take other steps to get it back.
Although it's not something that needs to be done daily, verifying the status of your CNA license is important to do from time to time. Knowing how to do so will come in handy throughout your career.