A certified nursing assistant (CNA) is a healthcare professional who provides assistance to a registered nurse (RN) or a licensed vocational nurse (LVN). A CNA has several responsibilities, including helping patients bathe, dress, and perform basic daily activities.

​Becoming a certified nursing assistant in the state of California can be as easy as following these three steps:

1. Fulfill Training Requirements

The individual seeking certification must have at least 60 hours of classroom training. An additional 100 hours of supervised clinical training is also required. The training must take place at a state-approved healthcare facility or school. You must also be at least 16 years old.

2. Criminal Background Check

Certified nursing assistant candidates must pass a criminal background check. The check is performed using the Live Scan fingerprinting process. You are responsible for contacting Live Scan facility to schedule an appointment.

3. Pass the Certification Test

The certification test has two components. A written exam and a clinical skills exam. The state of California requires that within two years of completing your training program, you must apply and pass both exams. Failure to do so will result in the need for retraining. Applicants can attempt the test three times within that two-year period.

CREDENTIA administers the test at various locations throughout the bay area. Testing sites and test schedules are available on the Credentia website. Below are the steps you will need to complete AFTER the CNA training for scheduling the state exam –

  • Create a CNA365© account by accessing http://www.credentia.com/test-takers/canorth
  • Submit an electronic application through CNA365© including uploading your CDPH283B form. This form is provided by school upon completion of your training.
  • Submit payment for your test(s) using a credit card or debit card 
  • Select testing date from available testing sites
  • Email confirmation will be sent automatically through the CNA365© system (email address is required)

To prepare for your CNA certification test, you might want to take a free practice exam.

Candidate Handbook

Job Opportunities

Certified nursing assistants are eligible for positions in various healthcare facilities.

Hospitals are the most common employer of nursing assistants, but CNAs are also commonly employed at specialty healthcare facilities such as cancer centers, children’s hospitals and rehabilitation facilities.

Some certified nursing assistants work in environments outside of healthcare facilities. Assisted living centers and nursing homes commonly hire nursing assistants. Some nursing assistants work as home health aides, providing care in a patient’s home.

Earnings Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that California has the highest CNA employment, with over 100,000 CNAs currently employed. California CNA wages can start at $42,000 per year, which is among the top 5% in the nation.