Is a CNA license the same as a GNA license?

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asked in Work by Belinda Theresa Sturtz
Maryland State Board of Nursing has issued me a CNA/GNA license but only CNA shows up in display window while waiting on GNA test scores results even though the ID number is the same for both. I took the test in November and passed the written test, then retested for the skills test in December. Can I work as both CNA/GNA or not?

1 Answer

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answered by Caroline B.

In Maryland, all nursing assistants must be certified in order to work, and a CNA license is not the same as a GNA license. The CNA certification is only the basic level of certification and must be completed first or in conjunction with any additional certification such as the one for Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA). All other certifications are in addition to the CNA certification.

The Maryland Board of Nursing is responsible for processing GNA certifications and renewals, not the testing service. GNA certification will be indicated on the CNA certification and will expire at the same time as the CNA certification. The GNA certification will appear on the license verification page or by using the verification phone line at 410-585-1990. You may contact the Maryland Board of Nursing toll-free at 877-847-0626 to inquire about the delay in updating your status.

Below are additional certifications that are specific to federal law or state regulation and will appear on the CNA certification card if you meet the requirements. Please note that Home Health Aide and Geriatric Nursing Assistant licenses are not interchangeable.

  • Geriatric Nursing Assistant (GNA) - the individual has passed the Geriatric Nursing Assistant examination and meets federal requirements required for all nursing assistants working in licensed comprehensive care facilities. There is no cost for GNA certification or renewal if the individual meets the requirements for GNA certification. In order to be registered as a GNA in Maryland, you must first be certified as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).
  • Home Health Aide (HHA) - the individual meets training requirements of federal law required to work in licensed home health agencies. Home health agencies provide verification that the individual meets the federal requirements.
  • Certified Medicine Aide (CMA) - the individual meets state requirements needed to administer medications in a licensed comprehensive care facility. Only GNAs with one year of experience and who completed an approved 60-hour medicine aide course taught in a community college are eligible to become CMAs.
  • Dialysis Technician - the individual meets training requirements of the state for work in dialysis units in Maryland.

Federal law requires that a state maintain a GNA registry listing the status of GNA certification and those who have had disciplinary action taken against them. There is no cost for the registry, and renewals of certification are handled by the Board of Nursing. The expiration date of certification for GNAs, Medicine Aides, and Home Health Aides matches the CNA expiration date and there is no charge for the GNA, Medicine Aide or Home Health Aide certification.

In Maryland, the Board of Nursing has combined the CNA certification database with the GNA registry. Information regarding CNA and GNA certification status can be found on the license verification page or by using the verification phone line 410-585-1990.

Every CNA working in a Maryland Licensed Nursing Home must be registered as a GNA within 120 days of being hired by the facility. You may not work as a GNA, even while waiting to take the examination, unless you are already a CNA in good standing, certified through the Maryland Nursing Assistant Certification Program. Under Federal and Maryland laws, nursing homes are required to pay the initial NNAAP examination fees for their GNA employees. If you are not currently employed at a nursing home, you may pay the fee yourself.

commented by Belinda Theresa Sturtz
I have taken both CNA/GNA tests and passed but only the CNA license is in the window. Pearson Vue stated they sent my scores over to the Maryland Board of Nursing, yet MBON claims they only received half of November's. I keep getting new agents yet the same run around. Where else do I go?
commented by Caroline B.
Unfortunately there is no one else you can contact and there is no way of knowing what really happened. You may want to request that the results be sent again. Try to get the names of the representatives you talk to and ask them how long it takes to send the scores again and update your status on the registry. It might be a good idea to also ask if you may check back with them and follow up after a short period of time.