Nursing License Lookup - Pennsylvania CNA Registry

License Lookup Information

To verify a nurse's license in Pennsylvania, you can use the online nurse license lookup tool provided by the Pennsylvania Department of State. This tool allows the public to check the licensure status of registered nurses (RNs), licensed practical nurses (LPNs), and advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), ensuring that they are qualified and authorized to practice nursing in Pennsylvania. Here’s how to perform a license lookup step-by-step:

  1. Access the Pennsylvania Licensing System (PALS):

    • Visit the official PALS website. This system is responsible for handling professional license verifications among other services.
  2. Navigate to the License Verification Section:

    • Once on the PALS homepage, look for an option that reads “Verify a Professional License” or a similar term. This will direct you to a search page designed for license verification.
  3. Input Search Criteria:

    • You will be asked to enter details to search for the nurse’s license. Generally, you can search using various criteria such as the nurse's name, license number, or other identifiers. It’s beneficial to have precise information for a more accurate search. Entering the full name and selecting 'Nursing' from the profession drop-down menu can help narrow down the results.
  4. Conduct the Search:

    • After entering the relevant details, submit the search to view the results. If the information entered matches the records, you will see entries related to the queried nurse.
  5. Analyze the Results:

    • The results page will usually list the nurse's name, license type, status (active, expired, etc.), and the license number. It might also include details on any disciplinary actions or restrictions on the professional’s license.
  6. Verify Specifics (if necessary):

    • If you require more detailed information than what is provided in the basic search results, you might need to contact the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing or use additional features on the PALS website, which may involve setting up an account.

Regulations and Criteria for Nurse Licensure in Pennsylvania

  • Education and Examination: To become a licensed nurse in Pennsylvania, one must complete an approved nursing education program and pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) for RNs or LPNs. APRNs have additional certification requirements.

  • Renewal: Nursing licenses in Pennsylvania must be renewed every two years. Nurses are required to complete continuing education during each renewal period to maintain their licensure.

  • Background Checks: Applicants for nursing licenses in Pennsylvania must undergo criminal background checks. This is part of the state's effort to ensure that those entering the nursing profession do not have histories that could adversely affect their ability to practice safely.

  • Multistate Licensure: Pennsylvania is a member of the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows RNs and LPNs to practice in other compact states without obtaining additional licenses.

These steps and guidelines help ensure that only qualified nursing professionals practice in Pennsylvania, thereby maintaining high standards of healthcare service. For anyone looking to verify the status of a nurse’s license, following these steps will provide the necessary information.

Registry Information

The Pennsylvania CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) Registry is maintained by the Pennsylvania Department of Health. This registry contains vital information about the status of CNA certifications in the state, including whether a nursing assistant is active and in good standing.

To verify the certification status of a CNA in Pennsylvania, you can follow these steps:

  1. Online Verification:

    • Visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health's Nurse Aide Registry website. This online service allows users to access the registry and verify the certification status of CNAs.
    • You can search for a CNA by entering their name or registry number. The results will confirm whether the individual is certified, the dates of certification, and if there are any restrictions or findings against the certification.
  2. Phone Verification:

    • You can also verify a CNA's certification by phone. This can be done by calling the Nurse Aide Registry's customer service line. Be prepared to provide the CNA’s name or registry number for lookup.
  3. Mail or Fax:

    • Requests for certification verification can also be made via mail or fax. You would need to send a written request along with the CNA's information to the Nurse Aide Registry. The contact details and a form for such requests can usually be found on the registry’s website.

Requirements and Procedures Unique to Pennsylvania's CNA Registry:

  • Renewal of Certification: CNAs in Pennsylvania must renew their certification every 24 months. To renew, they must have worked as a paid nurse aide for at least eight consecutive hours providing nursing-related services in a health care setting during the last 24 months.
  • Training Hours: Before being listed on the registry, potential CNAs must complete a state-approved training program, which includes 120 hours of training, split between classroom instruction and supervised clinical experience.
  • Exams: Prospective CNAs must pass a competency exam, which includes both a written (or oral) component and a skills demonstration component.

For detailed information, access to forms, or to check the most current procedures and requirements, it is advisable to visit the Pennsylvania Department of Health's official website or contact their office directly. This will ensure you have the most accurate and up-to-date information.

State-Specific Regulations

In Pennsylvania, Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) and nurses are subject to specific requirements and regulations administered by the Pennsylvania Department of State through the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing. These requirements are designed to ensure that all practicing professionals meet the necessary qualifications and uphold the standards of care and ethics required in the field. Here’s an overview focusing on the unique requirements for CNAs and nurses within the state:

CNAs in Pennsylvania

  1. Training and Examination: Candidates must complete a state-approved CNA training program, which typically involves at least 120 hours of training, including both classroom and clinical components. Following the completion of training, candidates must pass the Pennsylvania Nurse Aide Competency Exam, administered by Pearson VUE.

  2. Registration: Once certified, CNAs must register with the Pennsylvania Nurse Aide Registry. This registry maintains a record of all certified nurse aides who are legally eligible to work in the state.

  3. Continuing Education and Renewal: CNAs in Pennsylvania must renew their certification every two years. This process involves working a minimum of eight hours for pay in a nursing-related duty under the supervision of a registered nurse within the 24 months prior to renewal. There is no continuing education requirement mandated by the state.

Nurses in Pennsylvania (LPNs, RNs, APRNs)

  1. Licensure by Examination or Endorsement: Nurses must pass the NCLEX-PN or NCLEX-RN exams to obtain licensure as Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs) or Registered Nurses (RNs), respectively. Additionally, Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) are required to obtain national certification in their area of specialization. Nurses who are already licensed in another state may apply for licensure by endorsement in Pennsylvania.

  2. Continuing Education: RNs and LPNs are required to complete 30 hours of continuing education every two years. For APRNs, requirements can vary depending on their specialty and role.

  3. Child Abuse Clearance: All health care professionals, including nurses, must submit proof of child abuse clearance to legally practice in Pennsylvania.

Recent Updates or Changes

  • Temporary Practice Permits: Pennsylvania may issue temporary practice permits to graduate nurses who are awaiting the results of their licensure exam. This permit allows them to practice under direct supervision until they receive their examination results.
  • Telemedicine and Telehealth Regulations: Recent updates have been made to accommodate the growing field of telemedicine, affecting APRNs and other healthcare practitioners. These changes include modifications to licensure requirements and the scope of practice specific to telehealth.


For detailed and up-to-date information, here are some relevant links:

  • Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing This is the main portal for all information related to nursing licensure and regulation in Pennsylvania.

  • Pearson VUE This site provides information on how to schedule the Nurse Aide Competency Exam and other related details.

  • Pennsylvania Nurse Aide Registry This is the official database listing all certified nurse aides eligible to work in Pennsylvania.

The regulations and requirements for CNAs and nurses in Pennsylvania ensure that the healthcare industry maintains high standards of professionalism and care. It's important for prospective and practicing nurses and CNAs to stay informed about these requirements through official channels.