CNA Classes in California (Top Schools)

California map

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has four requirements for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA).

You must have:

  • Been at least 16 years old
  • Completed a CDPH-approved Nurse Assistant Training Program (NATP)
  • Passed the Competency Evaluation Examination (CEE)
  • Received criminal background clearance

Taking on a CNA Training Program in California

A CNA provides basic patient care to residents under the supervision of a senior nurse.

That’s why the CDPH requires that you enroll in a state-approved training program to ensure that you receive standard education.

The CPDH has approved many training program providers grouped into three categories:

  • CNA training programs
  • Facility-based NATPs
  • Online training providers

In the program, you’ll undergo a minimum total of 150 hours of training.

  • 50 hours of classroom instruction
  • 100 hours of supervised clinical training

Then, before you’re given direct contact with a patient, you must also complete at least 16 hours of training in:

  • Communications and interpersonal skills
  • Infection control
  • Promoting patient independence
  • Respecting patient rights
  • Safety and emergency procedures, including the Heimlich maneuver

Listed below are some of the CNA training program providers in California.

For the complete list, visit the CDPH’s CNA web page.

15 CNA Schools in California

School NameAddress
A Better Solution CNA SchoolSan Diego, CA 92123
Advanced Career Academy Inc.Fresno, CA 93711
Bay Area CNA SchoolLivermore, CA 94551
California Healthcare Skills CenterRiverside, CA 92508
Danish Care CenterAtascadero, CA 93422
Eastern Plumas Health Care - LoyaltonLoyalton, CA 96118
Kash Career CollegeSacramento, CA 95825
Kern Valley Career CenterBakersfield, CA 93309
Lakeside Special Care CenterLakeside, CA 92040
McKallen Medical Training CenterRancho Cucamonga, CA 91730
Procareer AcademyWhittier, CA 90603
​Quest Nursing Education CenterOakland, CA 94607
Seaview Rehabilitation and Wellness CenterEureka, CA 95503
Trinity Hospital Skilled Nursing FacilityWeaverville, CA 96093
Windsor Chico Creek Care and Rehabilitation CenterChico, CA 95926

Evaluating a CNA Candidate

Completing the CNA training means that you can now take the CEE.

As of March 2022, the CDPH has approved three testing vendors to facilitate the CNA CEE.

  • National Nurse Assistant Training and Assessment Program (NNAAP)
  • D&S Diversified Technologies – Headmaster, LLP (D&SDT-Headmaster)
  • Prometric

You have to visit each of these vendors’ websites for the full exam details, particularly the exam fees.

However, usually, the CEE will comprise of two components: a knowledge test and a skills test.

The knowledge test is usually done in written format, but you can have it oral upon request.

Here, you’ll answer 70 to 75 multiple-choice questions within a time limit.

Meanwhile, the skills test assesses the accuracy of your performance on random nurse aide tasks within a time limit.

For the exam results, the testing vendor will mail or email the official scores to you.

If you pass, then the testing vendor will forward your results to CDPH who’ll then add you to the California Nurse Assistant Registry (NAR).

If you didn’t pass, then you’ll have to retake the test/s you failed.

You’re given three attempts in total to secure passing scores on both tests.

If you still fail, then you have to enroll in NATP again and enter a new testing cycle.

Criminal Background Clearance

One of the requirements to be a California CNA is a criminal background clearance.

Its purpose is to ensure that you have a clean record and that you don’t pose a threat to the well-being of your patients.

As of this time, the CDPH accepts two methods of fingerprint-based background checks.

  • Live-scan fingerprinting, aka electronic fingerprints
  • Fingerprint card

If you go with the former, you must submit a Request for Live Scan Service (BCIA 8016) in your application.

The CDPH has a list of live-scan fingerprinting vendors on its website.

These vendors tend to price the live-scan fingerprinting service between $10 and $45.

Meanwhile, if you choose the second option, you’ll have to submit to CDPH two copies of fingerprint cards (FD-258).

Applying to be a CNA in California

Let’s take a look at how you can apply as a CNA in California.

Initial Nurse Assistant Certification (INAC)

This INAC is usually applicable to homegrown CNA candidates.

You only have two simple requirements to accomplish:

  • Initial Application form, which is usually done during the NATP enrollment
  • Request for Live Scan Service form

Then, submit these forms to CDPH at this address:

You must complete and submit the following to CDPH:

California Department of Public Health
Licensing and Certification Division
Healthcare Workforce Branch
P.O. Box 997416, MS 3301
Sacramento, CA 95899-7416

Renewal of Certification

Your CNA designation is only valid for two years.

To renew it, you must complete 48 hours of in-service training or continuing education units within that period.

Please take note of the following:

  • You must complete at least 12 hours each year
  • You can spend at most 24 hours in a CDPH-approved online computer training program

Once you have everything ready, submit these forms to CDPH:

  • Renewal Application form
  • CNA In-Service Training /Continuing Education Units form

Out-of-State Reciprocity

CNAs who are registered in good standing in the state of origin may be placed on NAR by reciprocity.

Here are the requirements:

  • Initial Application form
  • Criminal background clearance, either through live-scan or fingerprinting card
  • Copy of your CNA certificate
  • Proof of work as a CNA within the last 24 months
  • Verification of Current Nurse Assistant Certification form

CNA Equivalency

This equivalency application is usually for:

  • Nurses currently enrolled or completed a nursing program
  • Military personnel who received medical training
  • Foreign-trained or licensed nurse

If your application is approved, you can take the CEE without having to undergo CNA training in California.

Here are the requirements you must complete:

  • Initial Application form
  • Request for Live Scan Service form
  • Official transcript of training (DD-214 for discharged military personnel)
  • Proof of work as a CNA within the last 24 months (except for nursing students)

Potential Salary

A CNA’s salary depends on many factors, such as:

  • Education
  • Skills
  • Experience
  • Nature of work

As of this writing, the average salary you can receive annually in California is about $35,000.

Below, you’ll see how much the salary is for the different places in the state.

Annual Salary Range:

Average Salary of CNAs in California

City NameSalary
Los Angeles$35,670
San Diego$33,909
San Jose$38,477
San Francisco$39,739
Long Beach$35,166
Santa Ana$35,197
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Nursing Assistants, OCC Code 31-1131, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

Regional Salary

RegionEmployedAvg. Annual SalaryAvg. Hourly PayTop 10% Annual SalaryBottom 10% Annual Salary
Bakersfield, CA1,340$38,770$18.64$46,100$32,230
Chico, CA890$39,690$19.08$44,680$32,960
El Centro, CA200$37,310$17.94$42,850$32,380
Fresno, CA2,550$38,240$18.38$45,480$31,780
Hanford-Corcoran, CA240$37,180$17.87$42,810$31,650
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA39,710$42,620$20.49$51,260$36,480
Madera, CA470$42,440$20.4$51,930$36,160
Merced, CA380$38,810$18.66$45,040$33,590
Modesto, CA1,560$41,060$19.74$48,670$35,840
Napa, CA530$44,180$21.24$46,650$38,260
Oxnard-Thousand Oaks-Ventura, CA1,720$41,230$19.82$50,550$36,120
Redding, CA580$38,410$18.47$44,000$32,000
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA8,460$39,770$19.12$47,210$34,480
Sacramento--Roseville--Arden-Arcade, CA5,090$44,040$21.17$59,800$36,580
Salinas, CA910$43,100$20.72$47,650$37,640
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA9,290$42,420$20.39$51,820$36,810
San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA10,980$52,280$25.13$68,940$40,110
San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA5,230$51,600$24.81$70,700$40,380
San Luis Obispo-Paso Robles-Arroyo Grande, CA570$40,030$19.25$48,240$34,300
Santa Cruz-Watsonville, CA370$44,440$21.36$62,950$37,700
Santa Maria-Santa Barbara, CA1,050$42,120$20.25$48,820$34,240
Santa Rosa, CA1,050$43,660$20.99$51,560$38,740
Stockton-Lodi, CA2,110$40,990$19.71$46,930$34,630
Vallejo-Fairfield, CA980$43,180$20.76$55,130$36,670
Visalia-Porterville, CA1,190$38,720$18.62$46,450$31,540
Yuba City, CA470$39,670$19.07$46,460$35,900
* Salary information based on the May 2022 Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Survey for Nursing Assistants, OCC Code 31-1131, BLS.
* Employment conditions in your area may vary.

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