Certified Nurse Assistant (Aide) And Home Health Aide Qualifications In California

California has a certification process for both nurse assistants and home health aides. Because the requirements are quite similar and even use the same application form, I am including them in the same article.

Both certified nurse assistants and home health aides must attend an approved training program. CNA programs are typically at either schools or education centers or actual nursing homes or other medical facilities. The California Department of Public Health maintains two different lists of approved CNA programs. The first one below shows the schools you can attend. The second one shows the medical facilities. However, the lists are updated on a periodic basis. If the links below do not work, then look at the third page and drill down the Certification section to find the link to approved training schools.




Contact schools and facilities on the list to see if they also have a home health aide training program or combine it with nurse aide training. However, there is also a separate list of approved HHA training programs.


California law does not require an exam for nurse assistant and home health aide licensing. However, the application form says that you may have to take a competency evaluation. Also, a training program may test you before granting a completion certificate.

A criminal background check is required of all applicants. Convictions may or may not prevent certification. A review of any criminal record is done on a case-by-case basis.

As of the time of this writing, there is no fee to apply for either of these certifications.


Students in a nursing program or licensed nurses or psychiatric technicians do not have to complete a CNA or HHA course. But they must pass a competency evaluation. Information on that is provided after you submit your application. If you are still a student, you must have completed enough training that it is considered the equivalent of CNA or HHA training. This must include Fundamentals of Nursing. Also, if you graduated more than 2 years ago from a nursing program, then you have to have worked at some time during the 2 years before the application date.

If you already have a CNA license in another state, you can get one in California by reciprocity. But if you were certified more than 2 years ago, you must have some experience in the past 2 years. No training or exam is required if you qualify for a reciprocal license. This must be an active license in good standing in another U.S. state.

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