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How to Get a GNA Certification in Maryland

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In the realm of healthcare, various roles play crucial parts in providing quality care. Two such roles are Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and Geriatric Nursing Assistants (GNAs).

While both job titles share similarities, they have distinct differences and specific certifications. Before the COVID-19 Pandemic, CNAs in Maryland had to be GNA certified to work in long-term care facilities.

Due to the increase in volume of COVID cases and the lack of staffing, that regulation was put on a temporary halt. Three years post-pandemic, things are starting to go back to normal and with that, CNAs are no longer able to work in long-term care facilities without a GNA certification.

Today, we're gonna cover the differences between CNAs and GNAs and learn how to get a Geriatric Nursing Assistant certification in the state of Maryland.

Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs)

Certified Nursing Assistants, often referred to as CNAs, are nursing assistants who work under the supervision of Registered Nurses (RNs) and Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs).

Their primary responsibility is to provide basic care to patients, ensuring their comfort and well-being.

Some common tasks performed by CNAs include assisting with daily activities (bathing, dressing, grooming), taking vital signs, transferring patients, and providing emotional support.

Geriatric Nursing Assistants (GNAs)

Geriatric Nursing Assistants, or GNAs, are specialized nursing assistants who primarily work with elderly patients. Their role is similar to that of CNAs, but with a specific focus on geriatric care.

GNAs receive specialized training to address the unique needs and challenges associated with caring for older adults.

They possess the knowledge and skills to assist with age-related issues, such as dementia care, mobility concerns, and end-of-life support.

Differences between CNAs and GNAs

Scope of Practice

While CNAs provide care across various healthcare settings, GNAs typically work in long-term care facilities, nursing homes, and assisted living centers.

GNAs often develop expertise in geriatric care due to the population they serve.

Training and Education

CNAs and GNAs undergo different training programs. CNAs complete state-approved nursing assistant programs, which typically last for several weeks.

On the other hand, GNAs receive additional specialized training in geriatric care, equipping them with the knowledge necessary to address the unique needs of elderly patients.

Certification Requirements

CNAs and GNAs have distinct certification requirements.

CNAs must pass a competency exam after completing their training program to become certified.

GNAs, in addition to being certified as CNAs, must complete additional coursework focused on geriatric care and pass a separate GNA certification exam.

When is a GNA Certification Required?

In the state of Maryland, CNAs are required to have a GNA certification in order to work in long-term care facilities.

How to Become a GNA in Maryland

According to the Maryland Board of Nursing, examinations are offered through Credentia, a subsidiary of Pearson Vue Testing, the Maryland Geriatric Nursing Assistant Testing Service, and (MDGNATS).

Pearson Vue notifies the Board with examination results. Those passing the examination will be provided a GNA certificate. A new certificate will be issued with the GNA initials at the next regular renewal. The GNA certification will appear on the online verification at the Board’s web site under “License” in the top green title bar.

In order to obtain a GNA certification, a CNA must do the following:

  • Obtain the Maryland Geriatric Nursing Assistant Candidate Handbook which explains the written and clinical testing process, including the 20 skills tested in Maryland.

  • Register for the examination: To register for the GNA exam, go to

  • Pass the GNA exam.

The Board of Nursing is responsible for processing GNA certification and renewals, not the testing service. GNA certification will be indicated on the CNA certification.

How much does the GNA certification cost?

There is no cost for GNA certification or renewal if the individual meets the requirements for GNA certification. GNA certification will expire at the same time as CNA certification.


Are you a Geriatric Nursing Assistant near Baltimore, MD looking for a flexible position with weekly pay, competitive rates, holiday pay, and bonuses?

Join the hundreds of GNAs like you already working with Caring Staff and apply now at




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