CNA Training in California 

California is one of the largest states in the United States and is the seat of some of the largest cities in the country. San Bernardino is the largest county in the state and in the entire country, and Los Angeles is the most populated county in the United States. This large state has a significant need for trained CNAs. Many nursing facilities do not have enough fully trained CNAs to support their demands. Many CNAs will need to be hired in order to meet the demands of medical care in California. Therefore, getting CNA training in appropriate state facilities is an excellent choice for those looking for a rewarding career.

CNAs in California must complete approved training programs, pass the appropriate exams, and have background clearance. Those who wish to start CNA training must be at least 16 years old. Prospective CNAs must complete a specific number of training hours before graduating from a CNA program. In some cases, CNAs may qualify due to meeting equivalency requirements. Below are more specifics on how to earn CNA certification.

California CNA Certification Requirements

It is not hard to locate a state-approved training program in California; there is a high demand for CNAs, so there are hundreds of programs available in the state. However, some requirements must be met in order to begin a CNA program:

  • The prospective candidate must have graduated from high school \
  • They must be at least 16 years old
  • They must have a criminal background clearance
  • They must have up-to-date immunization records
  • They must have negative TB/drug tests
  • They must have a physical exam report prepared by a physician

California Training and Testing Costs

It is necessary to pass a state-approved program in order to qualify as a CNA. The cost of these programs may vary. Some adult education centers and nursing homes may provide free CNA training. There are also programs with available financial aid and reasonable payment plans for students who qualify for financial assistance. Employers may be able to sponsor training or reimburse students who have paid for the cost of a CNA program. Program fees do not typically cover supplies such as textbooks, uniforms, or required tools. The fees for a program may range from $450 to $1900.

Pre-certification training must include a minimum of 160 hours of training. At least 60 hours of training must go towards teaching and classroom experience. Six of those hours must be dedicated to learning about mental disorders such as cerebral palsy and dementia. The other 100 hours of training must be spent under the supervision and guidance of a registered nurse. These hours must be spent accumulating clinical experience. Here is a list of free CNA California classes.

Free CNA Classes and Nurse Aide Training Courses in California

If becoming a CNA in California sounds like an excellent career choice, the options listed below may suit your schedule and needs. It is a good idea to contact these establishments directly regarding tuition costs or specifics. Some programs may be free; others may charge tuition fees.

CNA Training in Los Angeles

American Medical Careers: This is a five-week training program that passes the state requirements for CNA training. The program includes classroom training, hands-on learning, and supervised work. A 75% score is required to pass the program. The cost of the program is $2221, but financial aid is provided to qualifying students.

West LA College: This is a nine-week program that helps prospective CNAs earn certification and prepare for the state examination. There is an emphasis on infection control, safety, physical care, and emotional support. Students must commit to attending all the classes in the program. The program also has several prerequisites for entry. Tuition is $46 per unit for California residents.

Angeles College: This is a six-week program that is divided into the classroom, laboratory, and clinical care experience. At least 50 hours of the program are spent in the classroom and 114 hours are spent gathering hands-on experience. Though most classes are held Monday through Wednesday, evening and weekend schedules are available. Tuition for the program is $1900 and includes books and equipment.

CNA Training in San Fransisco

California Nurses Institute: This program qualifies graduates for certification and for the state exam given by the Red Cross. Schedules are flexible and weekend schedules are available. Courses in English or Spanish are available.

CNA Training in San Diego

San Diego Continuing Education: This establishment offers 260 to a 300 hour-long program. Tuition is free for California residents, but students would do well to budget at least $350 for equipment and textbooks. Students must attend an orientation session. Some reading proficiency must be demonstrated before entering the program. Patient rights and emergency care are covered in the program.

Additional California CNA Resources

To contact the Licensing and Certification Division of the California Department of Public Health, click this link. Or, write to the following address:

Aide and Technician Certification Section
Certification Unit
P.O. Box 997416, MS 3301
Sacramento, CA 95899-7416
Phone: (916) 558-1784

Out of State CNAs

Out-of-state CNAs can obtain a license to work in California. The following steps should be taken:

  • Visit the Department of Health and download an application
  • Complete Live Scan fingerprinting
  • Submit active CNA certification
  • Submit proof that you have worked in your home state for at least 2 years
  • Submit a CDPH 931 form


California requires that CNAs get their licenses renewed every two years. 48 hours of in-service training and at least one day of paid service are required to maintain active status. If these standards cannot be met, you may need to apply for clearance from the Aide and Technician Certification Section.

How Much Does a CNA Make in California?

CNAs may make anywhere between $31,000 to $38,400. CNA salaries may vary due to location and facilities. CNAs with particular skill sets may earn a larger salary in California.