CNA, also known as Certified Nursing Assistant, can be
considered your first step into the nursing profession. It is an excellent
choice since the training period is not long, offers hands-on experience,
excellent employment opportunities. This course is also known as “certified
nurse aide” or “certified nurse assistants.” Each of the fifty states in the
United States of America has its own guidelines to qualify as a certified
nursing assistant, and the nursing license is granted accordingly. In this
article, we will see the regulations and procedures to be followed in the state
Who can become a certified nursing assistant? There
are certain criteria to be met to be able to even apply for the course to
obtain a certificate in California. They are,
Most of the schools demand the
applicant to be at least 16 years old.
A high school degree is mandatory
for facility training.
Before coming in touch with the
patients, it is necessary to get a health examination done and to produce the
medical history, tuberculosis test, and the results of the examination. This
report must be signed by a physician or a practicing nurse. In some cases, the
applicant might also be asked to undergo a drug test.
In order to facilitate the
background check process, the fingerprint must be registered with the
California Department of justice.
The eligibility to take up the
Competency evaluation exam is the completion of the state-approved training
In this case, we are solely talking about the initial
application only. Once you fulfill the criteria required to be eligible like
being sixteen years of age, completion of a state-approved training program,
production of the medical records or reports, and ostentation of criminal
clearance record, then you can make the initial application to the California
Department of Physical Health. On completion of the training, you can appear
for the examination to evaluate your competency. After the examination, in
around a month, the California Department of Public Health will receive your
Methods to become a CAN in
In the state of California, there are three options or
methods to become a certified nursing assistant. These methods are referred to
The first option is direct. One
must enroll for the training and then take up the competency evaluation
examination to become a certified nurse aide.
The second option is to provide
enough proof of having undergone training equivalent to CNA training. Under
such a circumstance, one just has to take up the examination after proving that
they have enough training.
The applicant has undergone
relevant training while in the Military.
The applicant is a certified
nursing assistant or a certified Nurse in another state in the US or another
The applicant has completed or is
currently undergoing training to become a registered nurse, vocational nurse
(Licensed), or Psychiatric technician (Licensed).
Under any case, the applicant has to take up the
examination and provide sufficient proof of training and working providing
nursing or its related services. In case the applicant has obtained a
certificate within the last two years or is currently enrolled in a course,
then the clause “working for two years in nursing or its related activities
while being paid” can be waived off.
When the applicant possesses an
active certification from another state and has been rendering paid service
during the past two years, then the state of California may approve
certification without further examination or training. In this case, too, the
need to have worked during the past two years is waived off if the applicant is
currently enrolled in a certification or has obtained a certificate within the
past two years.
To complete the prescribed training, the applicant
must enroll in one of the schools prescribed by the California Department of
Public health. The training is available in different forms, such as day
programs, evening programs, weekend programs, etc. These training programs are
offered at various institutions, such as agencies, nursing facilities, and
public educational institutions. Normally, anyone who has undergone the
training is fully qualified to take up the examination.
The training providers can be grouped into two
categories. One can be grouped under the School nurse assistant certification
training program, and the other one is the skilled nurse assistant
certification training program. Schools can choose from a list of schools
approved by the state. It is imperative they choose from this list only to be
The course fee includes books, supplies,
certification, tuition, and examination fees. They also have to pay a
registration fee, PPD test fee, and physical examination fee in addition to
uniforms and shoes. The total cost is estimated at 1800 dollars. Sometimes,
there have also been instances of free tuition fees. In any case, the students
would be required to pay fees like organization fees, parking fees, etc.
The length of the training is normally a hundred hours
of clinical training and fifty hours of theory classes. But in the case of
certain programs or certain schools, the duration is longer than this. In the
state of California, some schools offer longer programs with more number of
hours towards theory and clinical sessions and towards general enhancements.
But in general, the programs do not take place for longer than nine months.
When it comes to training, choosing a school is very
important since that plays a vital role in making your career. Make sure the
school you are choosing is approved by the California Department of Public
health. Look into aspects like instructors, the staff, etc. Certain other
important aspects are the completion rate of the school, the cost of the
program, the duration of the program, if the location is convenient, reviews of
the students, percentage of employment, etc. These factors will help you decide
on a good school that will help you start or continue your nursing career.
As far as the examination is concerned, there are two
methods or paths. The first one is to take up the National nurse aide assistant
program. This is administered by Pearson VUE. The other method or path is to
take the California Nurse assistant competency examination. This is administered
by the Red Cross (American).
National Nurse Aide Assistant Program:
This examination is conducted in two parts. The first
part is either written or oral, and the second part is skill evaluation. In
order to qualify for the certification, one has to clear both the parts.
Normally the written examination has seventy multiple-choice questions. In case
you have difficulty reading the English language, then you can take up the oral
examination, which contains sixty multiple-choice questions and 10 multiple-choice
comprehension questions for reading.
In the second part, the evaluation of skills, the
students are required to perform five skills of a nursing assistant. This will
be evaluated by a Nursing assistant evaluator.
Passing both exams, along with a fingerprint
background check, is required to qualify for the certificate. On completion of
all these, the California Department of Public health will mail you the
certificate. It is also important to remember that one must take up the
examination within two years of completion of the training.
California Nurse assistant
This examination is conducted in two parts. The first
one being the written part, and the second part is “skill evaluation”
test. The written part consists of sixty multiple-choice questions. Under the
skills part, the candidate is supposed to demonstrate four skills and six
principles of care. The six principles of care are safety, infection control,
privacy, independence, communication, and dignity. Both the parts of the test, along
with the fingerprint background check, need to be completed to be certified.
The certificate, in this case too, will be mailed by the California Department
of Public health.
In order to help the candidates, online mock tests are
organized. It is always advisable to take up and practice with the mock exams
before appearing for the real exam.
There are two regional centers, one in Santa Barbara
and the other in Huntington Beach. The candidate has to send in the
registration application along with the application money.
To the exam hall, the candidate is required to bring
the original social security card without lamination, a government-issued photo
identification card, two sharpened pencils, eraser, non-skid shoes, and Nursing
Assistant Certification Completed Application (HS 283B) enclosed with the
original RN signature dated after the training period or an original copy of CDPH
Approval Letter enclosed with an embossed CDPH stamp.
Electronic devices are not allowed into the
examination hall except those used for translation.
The training followed by the examination along with
the fingerprint and background verification is the necessity to obtain the
certificate, which will be mailed to the candidate by the California Department
of Public health within thirty days. The process is not considered complete
without a criminal background check. However, the candidate can work while the
process is in progress as long as the evaluation has been done.