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How to Transfer Your CNA Certification to California

The Department of Health Services Office in the state is responsible for approving, maintaining, and monitoring Certified Nursing Assistants.  For those who are already Certified Nursing Assistants and would like to transfer their certification to California, must follow certain step in order to achieve this. The CNA certification transfer is done by a process that is called reciprocity.

When Applying for Reciprocity in California

  • Individuals must have an active CNA certification (maintained on your current  state nurse assistant registry as having met the Obra training requirements and have had provided nursing services for a minimum of one day, for pay, in the previous 24 months) and a
  • Good employment record (having no findings of abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of residents' property)
  • A copy of the completed bcii 8016 live scan form, Individuals must wait until they have moved to California to obtain fingerprints through this method. The fingerprint cards are not acceptable.

If you have this, you may qualify for certification in California without taking the state training evaluation.

To be fully qualified to work in California, you will need to submit the required documents.  You will need to fill out the Reciprocity package which can be download at

If California asks you to mail the application directly, do it as fast as you can. They might agree for you to fax your application package. In addition, you may want to inquire about other documents that you need to send them. These may include your Social Security card, a photo ID document, your current CNA approval and a recent pay slip to prove that you worked as a nurse aide in the last two years.  You will also need to inform them about the address at which they can send your new certification card.

Expired or Inactive Certifications

If you have let your current Certified Nursing Assistant certification expire, or it has been inactive for less then two years, you may be allowed to take the competency evaluation in California without having to retrain by following the "equivalency applicant" instructions. However, in the event that your certificates or registry status have been inactive for more than two years in your states, applicants must then retrain and successfully complete the competency evaluation to receive a California nurse assistant certificate.

The role of a California CNA is one of numerous hats.  Working within the state you will have the opportunity to supply quality care for patients and or residents as well as be exposed to several other arenas of the medical healthcare field. The more you are able to effectively communicate with other professionals, the better service you will be providing to those that you care for.