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Posted April 28, 2008

Ask An Expert

Professional Caregiving: CNA Value in Starting Home Care Business

Q. How do I start an elderly home care business with an expired CNA certification? I am working in home health now, but I haven’t practiced as a CNA in eight years. Where do I get help with this? Do I need to be certified?

Judi T., Little Rock, Arkansas.

A. Let me say first that you’re not generally required to have an up-to-date CNA certification in order to start a home care business for the elderly. You should check with your particular state licensing authorities first, but most states do not require skilled healthcare certification for the provision of non-medical homemaking and companionship services.

In your case, however, you would be wise to get re-certified. You’ll be able to use the full range of skills you’ve acquired as a CNA, you’ll be able to charge a higher hourly rate, and you’ll significantly expand your pool of potential customers.

Your valid CNA certificate will enable you to provide those additional personal care services such as bathing, assistance with toileting, mobility transfers, etc., which can command an extra $2.00/hr, plus or minus, depending on your local market. And, by definition, you’ll expand your potential market by including those needing a higher level of care than a homemaker/companion can provide.

The re-certification process is usually very straightforward, as defined by your state licensing authority, and most states try to make it easy for those employed full-time to amass the required classroom training outside your regular 8-hour work day. Check with your local Visiting Nurse Service, and I’m sure they’ll have all the information you need. Good luck!

This answer is provided by Steve McCloskey, president of Caregiver’s Home Solutions, an in-home elder care business based in Fairfield, Connecticut. He can be reached at and his company website is

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