CNA Classes in California

California is one of the most densely populated states, with millions of people requiring health care every day; which is why salaries for healthcare practitioners here are quite competitive compared to the national average. CNAs in California typically start at an annual salary of around $28,000, which can then climb upwards of $34,000 with experience and training. With the demand for nursing assistants being higher than ever before, now is a great time to consider enrolling in CNA classes in California state.

There are literally more than a hundred Certified Nursing Aide or CNA classes in California officially recognized by the state Department of Health Services. However, just like CNA programs in other states, California CNA training programs are bound by federal and state laws and regulations. Students who want to be a CNA should familiarize themselves with these laws and regulations to avoid having problems in the future. Applicable California statutes and guidelines are explained further below.

State Requirements for Certification

The state of California requires that students be at least 16 years of age at the start of their CNA training. An exception can be granted for 15-year-old students as long as they reach 16 at the end of the training program. However, it should also be noted that majority of employers do not allow the hiring of CNAs below the legal age.

Officially-recognized CNA programs in California consist of a minimum of 75 hours of training, plus 16 hours of clinical studies supervised by an RN or LPN instructor. During clinical training, a student should only perform services which he/she has been trained for. In addition, a student should show proficiency before being allowed by the supervisor to perform any service

A total of 16 hours of training time will be dedicated to the five core skills. The rest of the CNA classes are reserved for the following: basic nursing skills, personal care skills, mental health and social service needs, care of patients with cognitive impairment, basic restorative services, and resident’s rights.

An employee shall not be charged for CNA training when such training was offered by the employer. This rule also applies when a person has been offered training in exchange for an employment contract. However, if the person has not received any offer of employment after a year, the state shall reimburse to him the costs incurred for taking the program.

In California, a CNA needs to complete at least 150 hours of training before sitting for the examination to become certified. Around 100 hours should be devoted to hands-on or practical training, in which students go through clinical rotations. Clinical rotations are an opportunity to perform various jobs over a period of time, sometimes in different healthcare settings. The rest of the hours are dedicated to classroom duty like lectures, demonstrations, and lab work.

CNA training in California normally includes first-aid training, infection control, vital sign assessment, palliative and bath care, back care, psychology, and interpersonal communication skills. Programs such as at Quest Nursing Education Center normally last 12 weeks or less. It’s common for colleges and universities to offer the program more than once annually, giving you some flexibility when enrolling. Additionally, some allow for part-time studies, while others require you to be present for the full 8 hours daily. Classes are divided into lectures and clinical experience.

Allan Hancock College

In Santa Maria, CA you will find the Allan Hancock College which is recognized and well known for offering the CNA certificate program. The same course is also offered at the American River College in Sacramento, CA.

Learners have to fulfill the Allan Hancock College pre-admission necessities to be able to enroll in the certified nursing assistant certificate program. These pre-admission requirements include taking a physical exam, CPR certification, background check, academic requisites, and substance abuse test. After admission, learners should expect to spend at least 3 days a week for a full semester in the class and in the clinical field for practical training. They should expect to explore varied topics in healthcare such as psychological management and geriatric care.

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will earn a certificate of completion. To become certified nursing assistants, they must sit and pass the California State Board Examination. Upon being conferred with the CNA certification, most students get entry-level nursing posts or can pursue further education and certification to become licensed vocational nurses or Registered Nurses.

Registered CNAs can then go ahead with the training for two more weeks to get certification for home health aides or restorative aides through the school’s continuing education program. Within the two weeks, students study topics such as food preparation and pharmaceutical assistance while the restorative aid course students learn vital skills such as pain management and mobility assistance.

American River College

This institution is also known for its recognized CNA certificate program and the HHA certificate program. Just like in Allan Hancock College, graduates can also pursue further certification to become licensed vocational nurses or registered nurses, while others opt to go for entry-level nursing jobs.

Students in American River College undertaking the CNA course spend at least 135 hours in practical and 63 hours in class/theory. They are equipped with skills such as catastrophe management, advanced elderly care, and vital sign measurement. Admission requirements for program enrollment include general education course in writing and reading, physical education, orientation session attendance, TB test and the submission of an electronic fingerprint.

Graduates of the ARC CNA program obtain completion certificate and become eligible to sit for the California State Board Exam for licensure as CNAs.

El Camino College

El Camino’s CNA course provides motivated students with the right knowledge and training to enter the fast-paced and exciting world of the healthcare industry. This program’s focus is on preparing the student to provide direct care to the patient and promote patient comfort. Additionally, the student will become proficient in collecting, recording and reporting data to licensed health care professionals through this course. Candidates should expect to attend class up to three days each week.

The course requires students to attend one day each week or lab and lecture and then spend the other two days working in area hospitals providing patient care. Specific subjects studied include critical thinking, team building, ethics, and cultural sensitivity, among others. Upon completion of this course and the State Competency Evaluation, the graduate is eligible for certification by the State of California as a nurse assistant.

MiraCosta College

The CNA curriculum at MiraCosta has a long history of excellence. Since it was established in 1987, thousands of students have been able to successfully fulfill the requirements of this CNA certification program. With a proven track record, MiraCosta’s graduates are able to quickly find positions in the healthcare industry working in hospitals and other medical facilities across the state. Many graduates of this program decide to continue to build on their CNA foundation by pursuing additional classes in more advanced disciplines such as the RN programs.

With a small class size of a maximum of twenty students, instructors are able to provide a great deal of individualized attention to CNA candidates. Enrollment is on a first-come, first-served basis, so early registration is a must for this exceptional program.

All California training programs being extended by universities as well as health facilities must be duly approved by the ATCS or the Aide and Technician Certification Section which is under the direct supervision of the state health department. The same agency is in charge of conducting the certification exam for nursing assistants which is held in duly-accredited testing units.

Requirements to Work in California as CNA

  • Students must pass both written, oral, and skills part of the State examination
  • Should have an active Certified Nursing Assistant Certification
  • Should have the mental as well as physical efficiency and ability to perform the job
  • Should possess a good employment record

Salaries & Job Prospects for CNAs in California

With a rate per hour of $13.04,and more than $36,000 in annual salary, there is no doubt that being a nursing assistant in California can be quite lucrative. The good news is that the demand for this particular job is expected to grow in the coming years, with a projected 21.7 percent increase that can extend up to 2016. Given this, finding good CNA classes in California should not be hard to do as many of these will obviously be offered to accommodate aspiring nursing assistants.

Between $8.70 and $10.90 an hour and between $20,000 and $35,000 a month. These rates are subject to change based on a person’s experience.

Free CNA Classes in California

There are several ways to get access to free CNA classes in California. If you’re between 16 and 24 years old and can prove you lack the funding for additional education, you can visit the various Job Corps centers found across California. Inland Empire, Sacramento, Long Beach and Los Angeles locations currently offer this Certified Nursing Assistant training at no cost. Further, as a student member, you can choose to stay in well-appointed accommodations and receive allowances each month. The Corps can also help you after graduation through placement assistance as well as career and relocation counseling.

Homestead Schools Incorporated also offers free CNA classes that last approximately 5 weeks. The uniforms and cost of training materials are also covered. The different centers for the Regional Occupational Program also conduct free CNA classes to those who need to retake the examination. For first-timers, the tuition fee is around $250.

If you are currently in the health care industry but want to specialize or enhance your skill in nursing aide, you can enroll through the California Long-term Care Education Center. You also have the option of approaching hospitals, clinics, hospices, and nursing homes to gain experience. A number of these facilities will sponsor your training as long as you work for them over a period of years during or after the program.


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