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CNA Training in Washington

In the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Washington State is known for its mild climate, gorgeous scenery and refreshing sea breezes and metropolitan areas. Nature lovers enjoy the Cascade Mountains, Olympic National Park, Mount Rainier and Puget Sound while city lovers can head to the Space Needle or Pike’s Place in Seattle. Parts of Washington may be known for rain, but the state rarely sees much snow. CNAs who choose to work in Washington can enjoy all that this prosperous state has to offer, such as an excellent work climate, good job security and a population of 7 million, 14 percent of whom are over the age of 65.

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About Washington

– Capital: Olympia
– Minimum Wage: $9.67
– Number of Hospitals: 90
– Number of Nursing Homes: 21,641


– Total Population: 7,061,530
– Population (ages 45-64): 1,857,616
– Population (ages 65+): 992,755
– Population (ages 85+): 128,688

Top Colleges & Unversities

– Whitman College
– University of Washington
– University of Puget Sound

Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in WA

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CNA Training Requirements

Taking the Test (Procedure)

Out-of-State Applicants

Renewing & Expired Certification

Applications & Forms

Contacts & Additional Resources

The Washington State Department of Health approves the state’s CNA training. Training programs must provide at least 85 hours of instruction, which is slightly above the federal minimum requirements of 75 hours. Of these 85 hours, at least 35 must be spent in the classroom learning CNA theory and the other 50 must be spent practicing hands-on skills. Ten of the skills hours may be spent in a lab, but the final 40 must be spent in an actual health care facility. Seven classroom hours must be spent on HIV and AIDS training. Washington State monitors CNA students and training programs carefully and requires students to attend all classes.

Training is required for all Washington CNAs except for those who have received equivalent training out-of-state and can prove that they had at least 35 hours of classroom training and at least 30 hours of skills training. In addition, nursing students, graduate nurses and military-trained health care personnel can challenge the competency examination if they received equivalent training.

Potential students must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED before beginning training. They will also need photo IDs and CPR cards. Before taking the competency examination, they will need to have both state and federal background checks as well as two sets of fingerprints taken. Students must be physically fit and able to spend hours on their feet. They must have complete immunization records and recent negative tuberculosis screenings.

The Washington CNA competency examination follows the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program method through Pearson VUE. Some students may be able to test at the same facilities where they trained. Others will need to choose a regional testing center. To test, students must send in an application; the state sends out Authorizations to Test two days after receiving the applications.

As with other states, Washington requires students to pass two different testing sections before receiving their certifications. Those who have difficulty reading English may also take the written examination orally. However, the oral version includes an additional 10 reading comprehension questions. The written section test CNA knowledge and includes 70 multiple-choice questions that must be answered in two hours or less.

During the skills test, students are asked to demonstrate hand washing as well as four other randomly selected CNA tasks in front of a nurse aide evaluator. One of the other four skills will be taking a measurement, such as a radial pulse. The skills must all be completed accurately within 25 minutes or less.

Students will find out if they have passed or failed the same day. Those who have failed will be required to retake the section that they failed. Both sections of the examination must be passed within a year of completing a training program. The fee to take the entire examination is $110. Those retaking the test will be charged $36 for the written or oral section or $74 for the skills section.

CNAs moving to Washington can request to have their certifications transferred into the state via reciprocity. However, Washington determines reciprocity on a case-by-case basis. Some individuals may be required to retrain and retest here to receive a Washington license. To apply, CNAs must be active and in good standing with their prior states and have no accusations of patient abuse or neglect on their records. Those with expired certifications will not be approved for reciprocity. Applicants must send in applications along with employment histories and certification information. They will need to have received the AIDS education that is mandatory in Washington. The Certification Application costs $48. CNAs who are also registered as Medication Assistants will pay an additional reciprocity fee of $25.

Washington CNAs will have to renew their certifications every 24 months to remain active on the state’s Nurse Aide Registry. CNAs must remain in good standing with the state to be eligible for renewal. CNAs here do not have to complete any specific amounts of continuing education; however, they must work at least eight hours for pay as CNAs every 24 months to be eligible for renewal. Renewal occurs every two years before the individual’s birthday. Those who do not renew because they did not work the required eight hours will need to attend another training program and retest. Renewal costs $53. Those who renew late will have to pay an additional $53 fee.

Employment Information for WA

Average Salary for CNAs in WA

CNAs in Washington can expect a reasonably good annual salary when compared to the state’s per capita income of $30,742. CNAs make $14.06 per hour on average here for $29,250 per year. Washington is one of the states on the higher end of the spectrum when it comes to CNA salary, and this is true for nearly all health care-related jobs, giving CNAs the motivation they need to advance their careers.

Job Outlook in WA

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic states that Washington has nearly 24,000 job opportunities for CNAs scattered throughout its 90 hospitals, 21,641 nursing homes and thousands of other healthcare facilities. This job opportunity number is expected to rise dramatically by 2024 as the nearly 1 million people older than 65 and 1.9 million people between 45 and 65 need increased amounts of skilled health care.

Employment Opportunities

Top Hospitals in WA
Hospital NameAddressCityStateZipPhoneWebsite
University Of Washington Medical Center1959 NE Pacific StSeattleWA98195206-598-3300Website
Providence St. Peter Hospital413 Lilly Road NEOlympiaWA98506360-491-9480Not Available
Virginia Mason Medical Center1100 Ninth AvenueSeattleWA98101206-223-6600Website
Evergreen Health Medical Center12040 NE 128th StreetKirklandWA98034425-899-1000Website
Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center And Children'S Hospital101 West Eighth AvenueSpokaneWA99204509-474-3131Website
Valley Medical Center400 South 43rd StreetRentonWA98055425-228-3450Website
Capital Medical Center3900 Capital Mall Drive SWOlympiaWA98502360-754-5858Website
Central Washington Hospital1201 South Miller StreetWenatcheeWA98801509-662-1511Website
Overlake Hospital Medical Center1035 116th Avenue NEBellevueWA98004425-688-5000Website
Peacehealth St. Joseph Medical Center2901 Squalicum ParkwayBellinghamWA98225360-734-5400Website
Harborview Medical Center325 Ninth AvenueSeattleWA98104206-744-3000Website
Cascade Medical Center817 Commercial StreetLeavenworthWA98826509-548-5815Website
Cascade Valley Hospital And Clinics330 South Stillaguamish AvenueArlingtonWA98223360-435-2133Website
Columbia Basin Hospital200 Nat Washington WayEphrataWA98823509-754-4631Website
Columbia County Health System1012 South Third StreetDaytonWA99328509-382-2531Website
Coulee Medical Center411 Fortuyn RoadGrand CouleeWA99133509-633-1753Website
Deaconess Medical Center-Spokane800 West Fifth AvenueSpokaneWA99204509-458-5800Website
East Adams Rural Hospital903 South Adams StreetRitzvilleWA99169509-659-1200Website
Eastern State HospitalMaple StreetMedical LakeWA99022509-565-4705Website
Fairfax Hospital10200 NE 132nd StreetKirklandWA98034425-821-2000Website

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