CNA License Expiration and Transfers

A senior caregiver writes to us, "My CNA license has expired. Do I need to take a refresher class?" Another asks, "If I move to another state after completing school, will I have to retake my exams?”

Our Home Care Expert, Lewis Myers responds, “The answer to this question varies state by state. Generally , the CNA should never let their license expire. In the state of Maryland, the CNA would need to re-take the course and become re-licensed.”

If you need to renew your Certified Nursing Assistant license, or if you are looking to transfer your license to another state, Caregiverlist has put together information about Certified Nursing Aide (C.N.A.) License and Certification Transfer, but here’s a brief overview:

As a CNA, you are a medical professional. Therefore, your license must be up-to-date in order to practice. First, check your CNA Registry Status from the state in which you live.

Get to know your state’s Board of Nursing. You will want to obtain your state’s CNA application form. Each state has different requirements for renewing your CNA license. If it’s been a long time since you’ve worked, you may need to retake your CNA training. Take a Certified Nursing Aide sample test to make sure you are ready.

If your license is active and you are in good standing, once again contact your state’s Board of Nursing to see if the state to which your are moving has a “Reciprocity Agreement” with your current state. Many do. This would allow you to transfer your license without retaking the exam. You will still need to supply:

    •    social security number
    •    driver’s license
    •    present C.N.A or C.H.H.A. state approval
    •    most recent employment details
    •    educational proofs
    •    background check

If the states do not have reciprocity agreements, then you will have to take your destination state’s licensing practical and theoretical exam. Get in touch with your new state’s Nursing Aide Registry to get the most up-to-date information.

Being a CNA is a great career move. The need for qualified CNAs is on the rise nationally, as you can see by our Senior Care Employment Infographic. Make sure you can move to where the work is by following all the steps necessary to transfer your CNA license to make the most of the senior caregiver employment landscape.

Background Checks: The Home Care Agency Perspective

Background checks for senior care are required by quality home care agencies before they will employ a CNA, Home Health Aide, or senior companion. We spoke to our Home Care Agency Expert, Lewis Myers, owner of Right at Home, Maryland, to discuss the significance of a good and thorough criminal background check. 

Criminal background checks — how vital are they to the caregiver hiring process?

Right at Home believes background checks are extremely important.  They can be done inexpensively or they can be very comprehensive.  When we run a background we want a very comprehensive picture of the applicant’s past.  Therefore, we take additional steps, such as looking at all 50 states, when we run a background check.  If I were looking for care for my loved one, I would want to know exactly how the background for the caregiver was checked.  Further, the agency should be willing to share results of the check with their potential clients.  This may give the client an extra level of comfort as to the potential caregiver’s past.

Who buys the background check — the  caregiver applying for a job or the Home Care agency?

The answer to this question varies across the gamut of agencies. Some agencies initiate the background check, some agencies require the caregiver to do their own background check and verify it.

As a caregiver, can ask to see my background check if conducted by an agency? 

Of course the caregiver may ask to see the background check and we as an agency/employer will share the results with the employee.

I want to hire a caregiver. Can I request to see the background check of a caregiver you send to my home? 

The family member may request to see the background check for a caregiver.  During the employment process, we as the agency obtain consent from the caregiver to share the background check with a family to which the caregiver is assigned.  This is rarely an issue as our standards would preclude us from hiring a caregiver if there is even the slightest doubt as to the caregiver’s past.

Do background checks only cover crimes committed in the United States? How would I check on the background of an immigrant caregiver? 

Background checks generally cover crimes committed in the US. It would be extremely difficult to check on the background of an immigrant in their country of origin. However, this brings up a good point. Given the difficulty of making this check, it can be prudent to require that a caregiver is in the US for a minimum period of time prior to coming to work for the agency.

When a caregiver, aide or companion applies with their own background check, are they given any special consideration?

In terms of special consideration, we love to see that kind of initiative, providing the check is verifiable.  We also ensure that the check performed meets all of our criteria. We really like using (the background check offered on It enables us to integrate the hiring process, creating greater efficiency.

What's in the background check? How far back does the background check go? Read our background check FAQ for answers to questions you might have. And to see what your background check says about you, we've made it easy to purchase your own background check.

Home Care Financial Assistance: What Does the Future Hold?

Medicaid- and state-funded programs that pay for home-based services for elderly individuals who might otherwise require nursing home care have been, until recently, available in many states. However, many home  and community care programs find themselves on the chopping block due to state budget cuts.

New York City’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he will have to close 105 of the city’s 256 senior centers if the state does not restore $27 million in funding. The senior centers are integral to keeping low income seniors living at home by providing hot meals, exercise classes to assist in healthy aging, and the opportunity to socialize.

The Illinois Department of Aging’s Community Care program, which pays for home health care workers for the elderly, has run out of money, according to WBEZ Chicago public radio report. Ironically, unless funding is restored, the state could find itself paying more for senior care if those elderly wind up in nursing homes.

Senior home care costs $15 - $25 per hour for hourly care and $150 - $350 per day for 24-hour live-in care. That compares to $180 - $400 per day for nursing home care. And that’s if you can find an available bed in a quality nursing home. A recent article by Philip Moeller in U.S. News and World Report delved into the shortage of space in nursing homes nationwide.

It’s no secret that seniors prefer to age in place, in their own home and community. Studies have shown that home- and community-based care can lead to better health outcomes. As the population ages, there will be a greater need for home- and community-based care. The U.S. Census Bureau projects that roughly 9.5 million people in the U.S. will turn 85 over the next 10 years. The question remains: How will an aging population on a limited income pay for the much-needed in home care?  

Lawmakers hold the key to finding and diverting money in their budgets to senior services. In Georgia, Patricia Lyons, who runs Senior Citizens Inc. and supplies Meals on Wheels to many Savannah seniors was prepared for the worst. She was looking at the elimination of much of the program when federal funding was scheduled to run out and the governor didn’t replace the money with state funds. She was worried that the most vulnerable of the city’s elderly would lose their lifeline. Her drivers not only delivered food, but checked to make sure the seniors were healthy.

Legislators agreed that the service was too important to cut and found funding by cutting other contracts in their budget. The Meals on Wheels program in Georgia was saved.

If you know Caregiverlist at all, you know that we are huge advocates of senior home care — we support caregivers, agencies and seniors alike. If you care about quality home care and want to see continued funding, we ask you contact your state legislature or your state’s Department on Aging and let them know how important it is to keep funding these programs. Welcomes New Senior Home Care Agency Expert: Lewis Myers of Right At Home, MD

Caregiver jobs can feel pretty isolated. Caregivers spend most of their time working with their seniors, and not a whole lot of time talking to other caregivers. It’s part of the reason was created — to help build a community where family caregivers, senior companions, home health aides, CNAs and anyone else in the caregiving field can participate in discussions about senior care and realize they are part of a bigger picture.

To that end, we are happy to introduce you to Lewis Myers, Owner and President of Right at Home, Rockville, MD. Mr. Myers joins us as our Home Care Agency Expert, and he’ll be with us during the month of May to answer any questions you may have regarding the home care industry.

This week, we asked Mr. Myers to discuss what he looks for in a potential employee and what a career path with Right at Home might look like.

Mr. Myers also talks about Right at Home’s caregiving philosophy:

"Aging isn’t easy. Not for the person who is feeling the effects of the years. Not for their family members. As a person begins to age, family members are often called on to help with everyday things that their loved one now finds challenging. We understand. That’s why we’re committed to getting you the information you need, as well as the care your loved ones deserves.

Whether your loved one needs a little extra help around the house, daily medical assistance or just someone to check in with them throughout the week, Right at Home’s in-home care could be the answer. Our Senior Care Services are extensive. But we tailor our plans around your loved one’s specific needs through our Custom Care Plan and custom caregiver matching."

Please feel free to ask Mr. Myers any questions you might have regarding Senior Home Care or Senior Home Care employment.



Caregiver Background Check: the Caregiver Job Edge

Caregiver jobs are growing at an incredible rate. According to the latest statistics, an average of 4.5 caregivers are hired by senior home care agencies per week. The senior home care industry has grown 40% since 2008 because more seniors prefer to age in place, at home.

So how do you stand out as a home care specialist in your search as a CNA, home companion, or Home Health Aide? What will make you an especially attractive job candidate for a quality senior home care agency?

A background check is essential if you are going to work in the caregiving industry. Because seniors are especially vulnerable, families and home care agencies will insist that you are free from criminal behavior and financial irresponsibility. Many employers will insist that you have a background check  before you walk in the door. Certainly, a good background check will give you a leg-up on the competition and prove to any prospective employer that you can be trusted with elderly care.

What will a background check show? Most will show:
    •    Social Security number confirmation (name matches the number)
    •    Current and historical felony convictions
    •    Arrest record (usually only actual convictions)

A senior home care agency must review the information found in the background check, but cannot use it to discriminate in hiring an applicant. View the video "How Employers Review a Caregiver Background Check."   

Each state has its own background check law requirements. You can see review your state’s laws for background check disclosures with Caregiverlist’s Background Check List (FCRA ) by State.

Not all online background checks are equal, so to make sure you get the report that will get you the job, has made it easy for you.

You can purchase a simple Social Security Number Match. This verifies your name matches your Social Security number for current and former addresses and shows employers you are who you say you are. It is the very minimum required in order to secure a senior caregiver job.
Cost: $8.00 Turnaround time to receive: Same day as submitted.

You can also request a Criminal Super Search with Social Security Number Match. Your best value, this report verifies your name matches your Social Security number for current and former addresses to verify you are who you say you are AND provides instant multi-state search of criminal records (includes District of Columbia). Includes felony and misdemeanor records, sex-offender records, inmate records and arrest information for 3 counties.
Cost: $18.00 Turnaround time to receive: Same day as submitted.

Give yourself the best opportunity at a job with the best senior home care agencies. At the very least, see what your background check says about you. And once you have a great report in hand, apply for a part-time or full-time Senior Caregiving Job.

Purchase a Background Check from Caregiverlist
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Caregiver Background Check FAQs

Senior Tax Deductions 2012

Tax filing season for fiscal year 2012 is drawing to a close. Senior care expenses for the year quickly become apparent. Family caregivers often ask if Uncle Sam offers a tax deduction similar to the tax deduction for child care when you file each year. The answer is, yes.

You can claim the elderly relative as a dependent. Your parent does not have to live with you but you must be providing for more than half of their financial support, which includes food and transportation. If you and your parent meet the Internal Revenue Service's criteria, you will be able to deduct up to $3,700.00 from your taxable income . Social Security benefits are not counted in most cases.

In addition, the Internal Revenue Service lets you deduct medical costs as long as they are more than 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income. This may include the medical (and dental) expenses of everyone listed on your tax return, including your spouse and dependents.

Caregiver expenses incurred may be eligible for deduction as well. Keep in mind medical expenses include travel expenses to and from medical treatments, along with uninsured treatments, such as hearing aides and false teeth.

Siblings participates in the financial support of the parent, some families rotate the deduction to a different child each year. Please do consult your accountant and review the specifics on the IRS publication guides (IRS Publication 502 covers medical expense deductions and IRS Publication 554 covers dependent care deductions).

Caregiving Jobs: A Career Path

Caregivers are a special breed. The work is hard, the hours are long, and the pay is usually minimum wage. The job is demanding and can be underappreciated. However, no one questions that the job of the caregiver is vital and the industry is growing at an exponential rate. The need for quality caregivers grows every day.

In-home caregivers directly affect the well being of others like few other professions. The bond between a senior and caregiver is akin to a familial relationship. This relationship is a growing trend as our population ages and the elderly look more to aging at home as opposed to a nursing home.

Many senior caregivers come to the profession by way of family caregiving. Some start their caregiving career as home companions, Personal Care Aides and  and Home Care Aides. The best way to get started on a professional caregiving career path is to work with a quality Senior Home Care Agency;  great agencies will provide additional training, support and benefits.

A lot of caregivers move on to become Home Health Aides and Certified Nursing Aides (CNAs) and work with Home Health Agencies. Certification requirements vary from state to state, but the federal government requires 75 hours of training, as well as a competency evaluation.

Some elder care workers go on to open their own Home Care Agency, as Caregiverlist’s own CEO Julie Northcutt did. There are choices to make: will you open a medical or non-medical homecare agency? Does it make sense to purchase an existing franchise or start an agency of your own? Of course, you will need to file for licenses and permits with your state’s governing agency. Many can send you a packet of information on how to get the process started. Of course, if you want to become a quality Senior Home Care Agency, Caregiverlist provides a very specific checklist outlining standards for safety and consistency in care.

Our recent Senior Caregiver Pay blog post received a lot of comments, most of them decrying the state of wages caregivers receive. We hear you. Rest assured that we are committed to caregiver advocacy and are hard at work developing affordable online caregiver training and certification that you can take at your own pace to make you a more attractive employment candidate to Home Care Agencies. Hopefully, Caregiverlist Certification will broaden your skill set and enable you to command a higher hourly rate.

The senior citizen population is on the rise and caregiving as a profession, need and concern is not going away anytime soon. Finding and properly compensating quality in-home caregivers is finally getting the national attention it deserves.  

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