If you’re interested in an entry-level position in the healthcare field, one in which you get to work closely with both patients and doctors, becoming a CNA may be the right step for you! But how to start? First of all, don’t worry! Even if you’re starting from scratch, the education and certification qualifications are not insurmountable, and stepping into a position like this may be easier than you think. This short guide will give you the tools you need to seek out and qualify for a CNA position in California.
Step One: Complete a Training Program
In order to become a CNA in California, an applicant must be at least 16 years old, have a high school diploma, and have completed an approved training program. All approved programs in California include at least 60 hours of classroom instruction and 100 hours of supervised training. A complete training course in California costs between $1200-$1800 and takes about nine weeks. You can take courses at public education sites, nursing facilities, and local agencies. To find a training course that works for you, check out this list of programs from the California Department of Health, where you can search for a program by county.In California, there are additional ways to meet training equivalency if you’ve had experience that qualifies. Some ways you may meet equivalency include:
- You are already in a paid healthcare position that meets state requirements
- You have partially or fully completed an LPN, RN, or LPT program
- You hold CNA credentials in another state
- You have military training
Contact the Department of Health at 916-327-2445 for questions pertaining to equivalency.In order to begin your training program, you may be asked to bring some or all of the following:
- Valid state driver’s license or ID card
- High school diploma (or GED equivalent)
- Physical exam
- Immunization records
- TB results
- Fingerprint background check
- CPR and First Aid certification
Step Two: Pass the Certification Exam
Just like 24 other states, California uses the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) for certification purposes. Candidates must pass the knowledge (available in written and oral formats) and skills tests. The fees for the test come in at right around $100, and you should plan on taking the exam within two years of completing your training. For information on testing centers, current fees, and study material, click here.Additionally, taking a few practice exams may be helpful.
Step Three: Find a Job
After you’ve finished training, passed both parts of the exam, and have completed your criminal background check, you’re ready to start job hunting. It’s that easy! And since the demand for CNAs is so high, we think you’ll find the perfect fit.There are many different places a CNA may work. Some facilities you might consider include:
- Assisted living facilities
- Nursing and convalescent homes
- Mental health facilities
- Private residences
Clipboard Health, with our robust network of healthcare connections, can also help you discover local opportunities. Take a few minutes to register as a CNA with us!Be sure to take a look at our Guide to Becoming a CNA for even more detailed information.