When Do My Healthcare Credentials and Certifications Expire?

To be submitted to a contract or a permanent position, healthcare workers need an updated resume, relevant experience, and current licensure that’s in good standing. In addition, nurses, nursing assistants, and allied health professionals can set themselves up for success by ensuring their compliance documentation is readily available (via paper copy or digital copy) and understanding the expiration and renewal process for each item.

There’s nothing worse than saying “yes” to a job offer and realizing you need to scramble to schedule a physical with your primary care provider and sign up for life support renewal within 48 hours. Cue the panic. At LeaderStat, we understand that there is plenty of information and paperwork to keep track of, especially for travelers.

To help you avoid unpleasant surprises, we did the hard work for you. Read on to find a comprehensive guide to healthcare compliance, including life support renewal, nursing, allied health, and nursing assistant licensure and renewal processes, TB test and physical requirements, background check and fingerprinting, and required immunizations.

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When Does My BLS/ACLS Expire?
Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) course completion cards are valid for two years. We recommend double-checking the date on your course completion card and setting a reminder at least 30 days before it expires so that you have time to schedule a renewal course and can remain fully compliant.

BLS/ACLS Course Renewal
The BLS Renewal Course (through the American Heart Association, AHA) takes about three hours to complete, and this includes skills practice and testing.

Life support certification through AHA is accepted and preferred by healthcare employers across the country. However, some healthcare organizations (such as nursing homes) will accept BLS certification from The Red Cross or another life support provider.

Need to renew your BLS in the next few months? Find a class near you.

Bonus Tips CTA-May-05-2023-03-16-27-3571-PM

Your Life Support Course Completion Card
If you misplaced your original BLS, ACLS or PALS certification card, contact the American Heart Association about options for a new physical card or e-card.

When Do I Renew My Nursing License?
Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVNs) and Registered Nurses (RNs) must renew their license through their original Board of Nursing. Typically, nurse licensure renewal is required every two years. Nurses can expect to pay a renewal fee ranging anywhere from $50-$200, depending on the state.

Continuing Education (CEs) or Contact Hours for Nurses
The required contact hours vary by state. For example, in California, Registered Nurses (RNs) must acquire 24 contact hours during their renewal period, which is two years.

📌Get a comprehensive healthcare compliance checklist with all required documentation here, including a free downloadable PDF!

When Do I Renew My CNA License?
Nursing Assistants, including Geriatric Nursing Assistants (GNAs), State Tested Nursing Assistants (STNAs) and Licensed Nursing Assistants (LNAs) typically need to renew their certification every two years, and within that timeframe, they must have worked at least eight in-service hours.

If nursing assistants do not work eight in-service hours and let their CNA certification lapse, they will be required to take the course over again, including the classroom portion, clinical portion, and state test (including the written test and skills test).

Resources for CNAs
Questions about your CNA certification, expiration or in-service hours? Visit your state’s Nurse Aide Registry website.

Respiratory Therapist (RRT) Licensure Renewal
Respiratory therapists fall under the umbrella of allied health, which has state-specific licensure and credential renewal requirements. Some states require respiratory therapists to renew their licensure every year, or annually, while others require biennial renewal. RRTs will be required to pay a renewal fee.

Find respiratory therapy licensure and renewal fees by state here: https://www.aarc.org/advocacy/state-advocacy/respiratory-therapist-state-licensure-information/.

Continuing Education (CEs) or Contact Hours for Respiratory Therapists
Required continuing education, or CEs, also vary by state. Generally, respiratory therapists are required to acquire anywhere from 10-30 hours during their renewal period.

Radiologic Technologists (Rad Tech, X-Ray Tech, CT-Tech) and Diagnostic Imaging Licensure Renewal 
Radiologic Technologist professionals are required to renew their credentials annually via the American Registry for Radiologic Technologists (ARRT) website. Renewal can be done online quickly and easily. The renewal fee is $30 for your first discipline and $15 for any additional disciplines or certifications.

ARRT supports 15 credentials, including mammography, nuclear medicine technology, sonography, computed tomography (CT), radiation therapy, and more.

Continuing Education (CEs) or Contact Hours for Rad Techs
Continuing education should be reported to ARRT. Radiologic Technologists are required to have 24 approved CEs biennially, or every two years.

How Long is my TB Test Good For?
Healthcare professionals should be screened for tuberculosis (TB) at least annually. The most common screening is called a PPD test, where an individual receives a small injection just above the wrist. There is a one-step test and a two-step PPD test. Most healthcare facilities require staff to have a two-step TB test, which means the individual will need to have a nurse “read” or evaluate their injection site two or three days later for any type of reaction. If a positive reaction occurs, a chest X-Ray will be required to further examine the lungs for the presence of tuberculosis.

Healthcare professionals can also opt for a QuantiFERON-TB Gold (sometimes written as T-SPOT) blood test or chest X-Ray instead of the PPD skin test.

How Often Do I Need to Get a Physical for a Healthcare Job?
For a travel nursing or travel allied health assignment, a physical is required annually, or within the past 12 months. This is a part of most facilities’ pre-employment compliance.

A physical, or “fit to work” assessment can be completed by a provider in about 20 minutes. The provider will ask a series of questions and take your weight, blood pressure, and ensure that you're able to lift a certain amount of weight safely.

Healthcare workers must provide a signed form to their healthcare recruitment firm that shows they’re able to do their job without restrictions. A blood draw is not required for a fit to work assessment.

Do My Background Check and Fingerprints Expire?
If you’re taking a travel assignment, you may be required to get fingerprints and criminal background check, along with a drug screening, prior to your start date in a new state.

Note: Some states don’t require fingerprinting, while others -- like Ohio and Indiana -- do require them.

For example, if you’re a Travel MedSurg RN who accepted a travel assignment in Ohio for 13 weeks and Ohio is not where you obtained your nursing license, you’ll be required to get fingerprints done via LiveScan. However, if you’re thinking of taking a travel assignment in Florida, nurses and allied health professionals from out-of-state are required to get fingerprints done in person, in Florida, prior to the contract start date.

This cost of fingerprinting, criminal background check and drug screening is typically covered/paid for by the recruitment firm. In other words, there is no out-of-pocket cost for candidates.

What Medical Records Do I Need to Provide?
Healthcare facilities require proof of candidate medical records, including vaccines and immunizations. This can include any of the following:

  • Hepatitis B (Hep B vaccine) – given as a series of three shots, typically done during childhood (good for life)
  • Measles, Mumps and Rubella (commonly referred to as the MMR vaccine)
  • Tetanus, Diphtheria and Pertussis (TDAP vaccine, required every 10 years)
  • COVID-19 vaccination card (The most recent COVID-19 booster became available in September 2023)
  • Seasonal Influenza Vaccine

Ready to find your next travel contract? Take a look at our Job Board to find direct care assignments in long-term care and acute care settings.

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LeaderStat specializes in direct care staff, interim leadership, executive recruitment, travel nursing and consulting for healthcare organizations nationwide.