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See which companies are looking to hire nurse aides in California

Become a CNA in California
There are two ways to become a CNA in California:

Complete a state approved CNA training program or demonstrate equivalent training. A candidate who has completed or partially completed an LPN or RN training program might qualify to challenge the CNA certification exam. California requires candidates to complete 60 hours of classroom learning and 100 hours of supervised training. For those trying to use equivalency to qualify for the CNA exam, the state will consider military training, paid CNA employment or other formal nurse training. Ultimately the decision will be made by the CA Department of Health as to whether or not the candidate qualifies to challenge the CNA exam.


The actual examination consist of a knowledge section and a practical skills portion. California adheres to the common standard set forth by the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) and administered by Pearson Vue. The exam is given at regional testing centers throughout California. Residents of Northern California can schedule their exam by calling (408) 855-5203. Southern CA residents can contact (714) 895-8708 and persons in Central CA can schedule by calling (805) 965-0581. The website provides upcoming test dates, times and testing center locations. Initial test taking fees are $90 for written format and $105 for oral examination. Re-testing fees are $35 for written, $50 for oral and $55 for the skills portion.

Prospective nurse aides can take the certification exam anytime within two years of program completion. They will be allowed three attempts to pass the exam, at which point they will be required to re-train if they cannot pass. Applicants must pass a criminal background check in California via a Live scan fingerprinting process. Some previous convictions are automatic disqualifiers, while others are judged on a case-by-case basis. After passing the exam and background check applicants can submit their paperwork to the CA Department of Health for licensure. Different types of applicants will be required to submit various documentation to support their application.

California also allows for CNAs from other states to apply for reciprocity as long as they are in good standing and they go through the proper application process. They will be required to submit a ‘Verification of Current Nurse Assistant Certification’ form (CDPH 931) to their current state where they are certified. They will be required to complete the same application as a new CNA accompanied by an additional reciprocity packet.