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Become a CNA in California

California is one of the populated states in the U.S with over 38 million residents. It is composed of several major metropolitan areas, such as Los Angeles and San Diego, as well as beautiful vineyards, hills and mountains and desert-like regions for a wide range of climates that can suit virtually anyone. CNAs here can find jobs taking care of the aging population in virtually any of the 347 hospitals and 121,000 nursing homes. While California does not have the highest percentage of people over the age of 65 at only 12.9 percent, still nearly 5 million elderly individuals frequently need the skilled help of a CNA in their health care experiences.

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Learn More About California

– Capital: Sacramento
– Minimum Wage: $10.00
– Number of Hospitals: 347
– Number of Nursing Homes: 121,381

Population Stats

– Total Population: 38,802,500
– Population (ages 45-64): 9,763,144
– Population (ages 65+): 4,993,047
– Population (ages 85+): 688,650

Top Colleges & Unversities

– Pomona College
– Stanford University
– Claremont McKenna College

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in CA

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CNA Training Requirements

Taking the Test (Procedure)

Out-of-State Applicants

Renewing & Expired Certification

Applications & Forms

Contacts & Additional Resources

Several groups may have CNA training waived in California if they meet a specified requirement. This includes nursing school graduates of the past two years, military personnel with health care training in the military, and those who have received sufficient training in a licensed practical nurse, registered nurse or licensed psychiatric technician school. In these cases, they may skip directly to the competency examination.

All other California residents will need to complete state-approved training as mandated by the California Department of Health. Students must be at least 16 years old although those under the age of 18 will need parental consent. A high school diploma is not required by the state although a GED or diploma may be required by some training schools. Physically, students will need to prove that they can handle the requirements of CNA tasks as stated by a doctor’s physical examination; they will also need complete and up-to-date immunizations, a negative drug test and a negative tuberculosis screening from the past six months. They must pass a criminal background check.

California requires one of the most rigorous training programs of any state. Students are required to complete 150 hours altogether. Of this amount, 100 hours must be spent providing hands-on care in a clinical setting. In addition, California has a framework regarding material taught during the classroom sessions. For example, six hours must teach about working with people with mental disorders. Other topics covered include nutrition, charting, rehabilitation and vital signs.

The California Department of Health uses the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program through Pearson VUE for the CNA competency examination. California is divided into northern and southern zones, both of which have several regional testing centers. Applicants must be approved by the Department of Public Health before they can register to take the test.

The examination has two parts. The knowledge exam can be taken in a written or an oral format, but the choice must be indicated on the application. The knowledge test has 70 multiple-choice questions in the case of the written option and 60 multiple-choice questions plus ten reading comprehension questions in the case of the oral. Applicants are given two hours to complete this.

The skills section is performed in front of a Nursing Assistant Evaluator. Students are given 25 minutes to complete four randomly chosen CNA skills on a volunteer actor plus demonstrate correct hand washing techniques. Scores for both the knowledge and skills sections will be given while the student is still at the testing site.

The fee for the test is $90 for the written version and $105 for the oral version. Students must pass both sections of the examination within two years of training completion to avoid having to retrain. During these two years, they can take each section a total of three times until they pass. Those who fail will only need to redo the section that they failed rather than the entire test.

California often practices reciprocity for CNAs. CNAs moving to California from out-of-state may apply for reciprocity if they are certified in a state that uses the competency evaluation requirements of OBRA ’87. In addition, they must be listed as active on their state’s registry and be in good standing with the state with no complaints of patient abuse, neglect or maltreatment. Applicants will need to fill out the initial application, have Live Scan fingerprinting performed and send in a copy of their out-of-state certification to the California Department of Public Health. They will also need to send in verified paperwork showing that they have performed nursing-related care under the supervision of a licensed nurse within the past two years. Reciprocity is free.

California CNAs must renew their certifications every two years to remain active. The state sends out renewal reminders approximately four months prior to the expiration date. To renew, CNAs must have worked at least 8 hours for pay performing nursing-related tasks under the supervision of a licensed health care worker, and they must have completed 48 hours of in-service continuing education. A certification is considered lapsed if the individual did not work at all in the past 24 months. Those whose certifications have lapsed will need to retake the certification examination if they wish to be reactivated. Renewal costs $30. Those who renew late will need to pay additional fees of up to $85.

California Department of Public Health
California Board of Registered Nursing
California Nurses Aide Registry
Verify your CNA licenses here

CNA/HHA Certification Unit
P.O. Box 997416, MS 3301
Sacramento, CA 95899-737
Phone: (916) 552-8811
Fax: (916) 552-8785
Email: [email protected]

Employment Information for CA

Average Salary for CNAs in CA

CNAs make a great wage in California, which is good news with the high cost of living in this state. However, CNAs make even more than the income per capita, which is $29,527. On average, a CNA here makes $14.43 per hour and $30,020 per year. Experience, type of facility, benefits packages and size of the city where one works can impact one’s income.

Job Outlook in CA

California has more employment opportunities for CNAs than most other states do. In fact, there are currently over 99,000 opportunities in the state, which are scattered among hospitals, long-term care facilities, home health agencies and more. The need for CNAs is rising across the United States, and California is a great place for CNAs to work with 5 million people over the age of 65 and 9.7 million between the ages of 45 and 65.

Employment Opportunities

Top Hospitals in CA
Hospital NameAddressCityStateZipPhoneWebsite
Stanford Health Care-Stanford Hospital300 Pasteur DriveStanfordCA94305650-723-4000Website
Cedars-Sinai Medical Center8700 Beverly BoulevardLos AngelesCA90048310-423-5000Website
Ucsf Medical Center500 Parnassus AvenueSan FranciscoCA94143415-476-1000Website
Ucla Medical Center757 Westwood PlazaLos AngelesCA90095310-825-9111Website
Uc San Diego Medical Center - Uc San Diego Health200 West Arbor DriveSan DiegoCA92103619-543-6222Website
University Of California, Davis Medical Center2315 Stockton BoulevardSacramentoCA95817916-734-2011Website
Scripps La Jolla Hospitals And Clinics9888 Genesee AvenueLa JollaCA92037858-626-4123Website
John Muir Medical Center1601 Ygnacio Valley RoadWalnut CreekCA94598925-939-3000Website
Keck Medical Center Of Usc1500 San Pablo StreetLos AngelesCA90033800-872-2273Website
Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center4867 Sunset BoulevardLos AngelesCA90027323-783-4011Website
University Of California, Irvine Medical Center101 The City Drive SouthOrangeCA92868714-456-6011Website
Kaiser Permanente San Francisco Medical Center2425 Geary BoulevardSan FranciscoCA94115415-833-2000Website
Kaiser Permanente Downey Medical Center9333 Imperial HighwayDowneyCA90242562-657-9000Website
John Muir Medical Center2540 East StreetConcordCA94520925-682-8200Website
California Pacific Medical Center2333 Buchanan StreetSan FranciscoCA94115415-600-6000Website
Scripps Mercy Hospital4077 Fifth AvenueSan DiegoCA92103619-294-8111Website
Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center2025 Morse AvenueSacramentoCA95825916-973-5000Website
Huntington Memorial Hospital100 West California BoulevardPasadenaCA91105626-397-5000Website
Kaiser Permanente Fontana Medical Center9961 Sierra AvenueFontanaCA92335909-427-5000Website
Sutter Medical Center5151 'F' StreetSacramentoCA95819916-454-3333Website

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