1090 Sunrise Ave
Roseville, CA 95661

office : (916) 780-1313

Education/ Certification

All CNA/HHA applicants who have ever been convicted of a crime should review the list of disqualifying penal code sections available through the department of health services (click here) to avoid wasting their time, effort and money by training, testing and submission of fingerprints since they cannot receive the required certification if they have been convicted of one of these violations.

To become a Certified Nursing Assistant, an individual must complete an accredited training program an earn certification. Unlike some other allied health professionals, CNAs and home health aides are not required by law to have a high school diploma or GED, and the lack thereof does not affect eligibility for certification or for the most part, employment.

When selecting a CNA/HHA training program, only programs accredited by the Department of Health Services, Licensing and Certification Program-Aides and Technician's Certification Section (commonly referred to as ATCS) should be considered as graduation from an ATCS-accredited program is required for eligibility for certification. To see a list of ATCS-accredited programs, click here. Employers do not appear to prefer graduates of a single training program.

ATCS-accredited certified nursing assistant training programs consist of a minimum of 50 hours of theory, followed by 100 hours of supervised clinical instruction. Upon enrollment, accredited training programs require individuals to submit proof of required vaccinations, negative TB tests and satisfactory health status.

After the individual completes the 50 hours of theory, which is lecture-based and held in a classroom at the training program site, the supervised clinical, or internship, component of training begins and is held in a skilled nursing or intermediate care facility or step-down ward. The students are able to observe patients and to provide basic services under the supervision of a registered nurse. Once the 100 hours have been completed, the supervising nurse signs off on the individual's ATCS form and s/he is eligible to take the competency exam. The test is offered through the Red Cross (the Santa Cruz County Chapter offers the CNA-CEP program for individuals and training programs may also schedule group testing for their students). Individuals are given three opportunities to pass the CNA competency exam in two years, after which they must repeat the course. If s/he passes the CNA competency exam, s/he will receive notification and a certificate in the mail. Provided the individual has an application on file with the ATCS, the nurse assistant may work as long as s/he has proof of passing the competency exam, not to exceed 4 months.

Home health aide training can be completed in as little as two weeks, or 40 additional hours, once an individual has completed the CNA requirements. A separate application is required with proof of course completion signed by the instructor before certification is issued. (Note: Competency is demonstrated through completion of the course of study, NOT through an exam.)

Individuals that have earned certification as CNA and/or HHA are added to a registry maintained by the Department of Health Services. Employers can then verify that their employees certifications are up to date. Certified individuals should periodically view the registry to be sure that their entry is error-free.

Though it is possible to complete a home health aide program independent of a CNA program, the course of study would be 120 hours for only the HHA certification and due to the increased job opportunities that having both certificates would afford, it would be wise to complete the 190 hour combined course of study and earn both the CNA and HHA certificates.

CNAs must complete 48 hours of continuing education/in-service hours every 2 years. HHAs must complete 12 in-service hours every 2 years. If an individual has dual certification, s/he could apply the HHA requisite 12 hours toward their CNA continuing education requirement (a total of 48 hours every two years would be needed to maintain both certificates, not 60).

As of 2007, applicants for Nurse Assistant and home Health Aide are no longer required to send fees or payments for certification.
In addition, each health facility that is operating as a health care facility and is used as a clinical skills site for nurse assistant certification training (through operation of its own training program or through contract with a training program) shall arrange for and pay the cost of Live Scan services for those trainees.

These are important changes for students as application fees were expensive and Live Scan fingerprinting process was cumbersome and expensive. These updates will save students money.

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