Renewal by Continuous Learning

Renewal by Continuous Learning

The vast majority of CNA-certified nurses renew their credential through the CL option, which requires you to accumulate 100 CL hours related to your nursing practice specialty over the five-year term.

Read our important dates to learn when you can renew your specialty certification. If you’re ready to renew your certification, sign in to your CNA account. Before renewing, you may want to learn more about the renewal requirements.

Please take the time to familiarize yourself with the activity guidelines outlined below.

Track your learning

The easiest way for you to track your CL hours is by using our form, Continuous Learning for Certification Renewal: Activities and Competencies [PDF, 82.1KB]. It is a convenient way to log your activities as you complete them. At the end of your five-year term, you submit your CL activities as part of your renewal application (we don’t need to see your CL hours until then).

When you apply for renewal, you will need to upload your CL tracking form.

It’s also important that you keep all official documents confirming your attendance in CL activities. These documents may be required as part of our renewal auditing process.

CL activities — general guidelines

The CNA Certification Program offers a great deal of flexibility on the type of CL activities you can count toward renewing your certification credential.

  • Each CL activity must relate to improving knowledge and skills in your nursing practice specialty. This means the primary responsibilities in your job description would not count (e.g., if you’re a nurse educator responsible for orientating new staff, orientations or teaching would not count as a CL activity)
  • Each CL activity must be completed within the five-year certification term.
  • Count one CL hour for each clock hour.
  • Count any CL activities that are 30 minutes or longer.
  • You don’t need our pre-authorization to count your CL activities.
  • Count the same CL activity only once during the five-year term, unless it’s at a higher level. For example, you can only count “basic cardiac life support” once over the five years, even if you take it more than once. But “basic cardiac life support” and “advanced cardiac life support” would count as two separate CL activities.
  • We accept CL activities earned outside Canada.

CL activities — specific guidelines

The following list provides details on CL activities you may wish to count. Note that many activities have a maximum number of CL hours that you can claim during your 5-year certification term.

Click each activity for details.

  • Content must apply to your nursing practice specialty.
  • Count a course taken toward completing a bachelor or advanced degree when it applies to your specialty (e.g., if you’re an emergency nurse taking an ethics course as part of your nursing degree, you must focus your assignments on ethical issues in emergency nursing for it to qualify).
  • Academic credits or courses outside your specialty, such as English literature, history, music or general computer courses, cannot be used for CL hours.
    • In general, a college or university semester course (e.g., from September to December) is equal to 36 CL hours. This also applies to a distance education course.
    • As a rule of thumb, count one CL hour for every clock hour you spent attending the course (e.g., 3 hours per week × 12 weeks = 36 CL hours).
  • Publication of materials relevant to your nursing practice specialty that are completed during your five-year certification term.
  • Your manuscript, research paper, book chapter or book can appear in a recognized professional journal or newsletter, or it can be issued by a recognized publishing house (a copy may be requested).
  • To count as CL hours, you must be one of the recognized researchers or authors and the research must apply to your specialty.
    • For a doctoral dissertation, allot a maximum of 75 CL hours.
    • For a master’s thesis, allot a maximum of 50 CL hours.
    • For authorship or co-authorship of a book, allot 25 CL hours.
    • For a book chapter, manuscript article or paper, allot 15 CL hours.
    • Article in professional association newsletter, allot 10 CL hours.
    • Educational pamphlet, family teaching sheet, allot a maximum of 10 CL hours.
  • Participation in research projects, allot a maximum of 25 CL hours
  • Evidence -based practice projects where you are the lead of the initiative, allot a maximum of 15 CL hours.
  • Activities must apply to your certification specialty.
    • Calculate the total hours attended. On average, claim 6 hours for each day spent at a conference.

Employer in-services

  • These are generally short CL activities of 30 minutes or an hour.

Note: For in-services that are offered regularly (e.g., nursing grand rounds once a month), decrease your CL calculations and paperwork by keeping a running list of the sessions you attended (including all pertinent information). Then, once a year, ask your nursing supervisor or nurse educator to sign your list. Use the list as proof of your CL activities in case your supporting documents are required when you apply to renew your credential.

  • Activities include:
    • Sitting on a certification exam development or translation activity session
    • Serving as an item writer or item reviewer
  • We will provide you with proof of participation.
  • You’ll receive 10 CL hours for each year you participate as a CNA certification mentor.
  • We will provide you with proof of participation.
  • Reading articles and answering test questions in professional nursing journals (e.g., continuing education unit [CEU] articles).
    • To count, you must complete the questions and have the activity scored. We will grant the same number of CL hours stated in the journal.
  • Participation in a journal club related to your nursing practice specialty can also be considered for CL.
    • Count the same number of CL hours as the journal club meetings.
  • Participation in e-learning tutorial programs, online courses, discussion groups and forums related to your specialty.
    • As proof of your participation, print and retain hard copies that clearly show your involvement.
  • Organizing and leading a study group to help other nurses prepare for the CNA certification exam in your nursing practice specialty.
    • You can claim a maximum of 40 CL hours for this activity.
  • Committee activity related to your nursing practice specialty.
  • Examples include:
    • Serving on the planning committee for a specialty conference or on the executive of the association for your specialty (by election, appointment or volunteering).
      • Exclude activities that are part of your job description’s regular responsibilities.
      • You can claim a maximum of 25 CL hours for this activity.
    • Serving as a subject matter expert who reviews CNA accreditation applications and programs.
      • You can claim a maximum of 10 CL hours for this activity.
    • Membership in the national association representing your specialty.
      • Claim an additional 4 CL hours per year.
  • Presentations to other health-care professionals on topics related to your nursing practice specialty. These activities do not count if you are an educator or faculty member and presentations are expected (i.e., part of your job description).
    • Calculate your CL hours based on a two-to-one formula for your preparation time (e.g., add two hours of preparation time for a one-hour presentation for a total of three CL hours).
    • If you repeat a presentation with the same content within the five-year term, you can only count it once. (You can count a presentation more than once if you change it significantly or offer it at a different level.)
    • Claim up to 10 CL hours for oral or poster presentations to a provincial or national conference.
  • A preceptorship in your nursing practice specialty.
    • You can claim a maximum of 40 hours for this activity.

A preceptorship is:

  • A formal, one-to-one relationship (of pre-determined length) between an experienced nurse (preceptor) and a novice (preceptee)
  • Designed to assist the novice in successfully adjusting to a new role (the novice may be a student or an already practising nurse moving into a new role or setting)

The preceptor:

  • Acts as clinical teacher, professional role model and colleague
  • Facilitates the preceptee’s introduction into the organization
  • Collaborates with the preceptee to assess learning needs and set learning goals
  • Consults with the preceptee to determine client-care responsibilities appropriate to his or her preparation
  • Provides encouragement and guidance to the preceptee
  • Evaluates specific learning outcomes and the overall program with the preceptee

Webinars and podcasts related to your specialty from any organization can be claimed towards your CL hours. CNA offers webinars throughout the year on topics that may be related to your nursing specialty.

  • As a rule of thumb, count one CL hour for every clock hour you spent attending the webinar or podcast.
  • Being an external examiner for a thesis defence.
    • Maximum is 10 CL hours per thesis.
  • Volunteering activities related to your nursing practice specialty (e.g., with a not-for-profit organization or charity, serving as a board member or delivering presentations to clients).
    • You can claim a maximum of 15 hours for this activity.

If you have any questions or you don’t see an activity you completed, please do not hesitate to contact us at