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Certified Nursing Assistant Requirements in Maryland

Maryland has multiple levels and types of nursing assistant certification. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) is the entry-level credential; it is issued to individuals who have completed training programs and cleared criminal background checks. The Maryland CNA credential is not dependent on passing a state or national certifying examination.

The Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA) credential is the equivalent of the CNA credential issued in some other states. It is contingent on passing a nationally recognized examination. Aides who work in nursing homes need GNA certification, but are allowed to work under CNA status for a limited period of time while waiting to take and pass the GNA examination.

Maryland CNAs may also hold adjunct certification as Home Health Aides, Certified Medication Aides, and Dialysis Technicians. Before a nursing assistant can hold a CMA credential, he or she must be credentialed as a CNA and a GNA.

Select a Maryland Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) or Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA) Topic:

CNA Training Requirements

In order to achieve the CNA, an individual may complete an approved nursing assistant program or equivalent training. Maryland not only permits but requires student nurses to hold CNA certification. Graduate nurses and international nurses may also apply.

Individuals who are pursuing nursing assistant training as an end goal will enroll in Board-approved programs. There is a list available on the website of the Board of Nursing (http://www.mbon.org/main.php?v=norm&p=0&c=cna/index.html#TrainingPrograms).

Individuals who are attending nursing school may consult the same list to see what coursework they will need to complete before they are eligible for their CNA license. The Board has made a list of course titles by school; students will find both in-state and out-of-state schools listed. In many cases, the same courses will simultaneously fulfill training requirements for the GNA license – at least at in-state schools. Out-of-state courses do not provide students with the opportunity to get experience in a Maryland nursing home and are listed as “CNA status only”. (The individual may, however, qualify for GNA after graduation from nursing school.)

Click Here to see Nurse Aide and other entry to nursing and health care programs in Maryland.

Individuals who have pursued military healthcare training can also consult the list to see which courses may qualify them for Maryland CNA credentialing. Those who received their training through the Department of the Air Force, for example, will need to document both ‘N. 1317 Fundamentals of Patient Care’ and ‘N. 1318 Basic Nursing Care’.

CNA Background Check Requirements

New CNAs must have criminal background checks. Fingerprints may be made electronically or manually. The Board notes that fingerprints that are taken electronically at Reistertown Plaza are processed quickly; other criminal justice centers may begin providing similar services in the future (http://www.mbon.org/main.php?v=norm&p=0&c=chrc/initial.html).

Once the Board receives evidence that the prints have been made, the individual can receive a temporary license. A candidate can also be authorized to take the GNA examination at this stage (assuming other requirements have been met).

GNA Training and Examination Process

Individuals who are seeking GNA certification must complete approved nursing assistant programs that provide clinical experience in Maryland nursing homes. They must hold the CNA credential before they can be eligible for the GNA. Additionally, they must take and pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) examination. (The NNAAP is used in more than 20 states; in most cases, it is required for the CNA credential.)

Click Here to see Nurse Aide and other entry to nursing and health care programs in Maryland.

The NNAAP consists of two separate evaluations. In the skills evaluation, aides perform five nursing assistant duties. At least one of the tasks requires the candidate to take and record measurements; the measurement could be blood pressure, weight, or radial pulse (among others). Skills are randomly selected and may change from administration to administration.

The knowledge examination is multiple choice and may be administered in written or oral form. The oral examination includes 60 oral knowledge questions and ten questions that require basic reading ability. The candidate handbook includes a content outline and a reading self-assessment.

The NNAAP is administered by Pearson VUE. However, Maryland candidates do not register directly through Pearson. Instead, they go through the American Red Cross.

Candidates will need to document eligibility. Nursing students do not have to be currently enrolled to be certified as CNAs or GNAs. If they did not graduate, however, they need to apply for GNA within 12 months of the time that they complete the qualifying coursework. International nurses must document that they have been approved to take the NCLEX licensing examination for nurses; they do not have to have actually taken the exam.

The Red Cross will need to receive an application by the 15th day of the month in order to schedule the candidate for the next month’s examination. Candidates generally receive their admission tickets about two weeks before examination day. Candidates who need to re-schedule are to do so a minimum of four days in advance. The American Red Cross can be reached at 866-257-6470.

Initially, a prospective GNA will register for both the knowledge and skills evaluations. A re-examination candidate, however, may register for just one. The fee is $105 for the full assessment. The skills examination costs $70; the knowledge examination, $35. A test taker who is employed by a nursing home can expect the facility to cover fees.

Test results are generally available the day of testing. Maryland candidates are allowed to attempt the exam up to four times without re-training. They must pass within 24 months.

Out-of-state CNAs Endorsement

Out-of-state CNAs can be endorsed into Maryland if their registry status is current and they are in good standing. The Board has provided a checklist for endorsement applicants (http://www.mbon.org/main.php?v=norm&p=0&c=cna/cna_endorsement_checklist.html).

An out-of-state CNA who is not currently active on another state’s registry will need to enroll in an approved course (http://www.mbon.org/main.php?v=norm&p=0&c=cna/cna_endorsement_facts.html).

The Application Process

Some candidates will receive applications through their program (a school or nursing home). Others will need to request materials from the Board. Requests may be made by fax at 410-764-8042. Candidates may also mail or email their request (http://www.mbon.org/main.php?v=norm&p=0&c=cna/app_request.html). They will need to specify whether they want the initial or endorsement application. They are asked to provide address and telephone number when making their request.

Pearson VUE sends the Maryland Board names of successful examination candidates. Registration status can be verified online.

CMA Training

After two years of full-time CNA experience, or two years of full-time experience as a GNA in an appropriately licensed facility, an employed nurse aide may begin training as a Certified Medicine Aide (CMA). The aide will need a recommendation from the director (http://www.mbon.org/main.php?v=norm&p=0&c=medaide/factsheet.html#1).

Additional Information

Nursing assistant certification information can be found on the site of the Maryland Board of Nursing (http://www.mbon.org/main.php?v=norm&p=0&c=cna/index.html). Candidates may reach the certification agency at 410-585-1990 or 1-877-847-0626.

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