Tips on becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in California

Tips on becoming a CNA

Are you interested in a career in healthcare? Becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) might be a fantastic path for you. CNAs are highly valuable members of any healthcare team. Their work allows patients to live happier, more fulfilling lives. In this blog post, we’re sharing some great advice on how to become a CNA in California. Keep reading to find out more!


What is a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant plays a vital role in the healthcare ecosystem. As a CNA, you’ll be responsible for a wide variety of patient care-related tasks, including taking vital signs, assisting them with daily activities, and helping with their general health and hygiene. CNAs work directly with patients, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, and other healthcare professionals.

Why should you become a CNA?

Working as a CNA is a rewarding opportunity in many ways. You’ll make a tremendous difference in your patient’s lives, make incredible connections, and have a lasting impact on your community. Of course, there are also quantitative benefits to the role. Did you know that California is ranked in the top 5% of states for CNA wages? As of May 27, 2021, the average range falls between $31,986 and $39,535. Plus, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nursing assistant field is predicted to grow at an 8% rate, which is much faster than average. California has the highest number of employed Certified Nursing Assistants in the country, at 100,000 registered nurse aids.


Tips To Help You Become A CNA

Now that you know more about what it’s like to work as a CNA, it’s time to learn how to become one! There are a few requirements, including classroom training, clinical hours, and a certification exam. These are some CNA training tips to help you understand the process:


  1. Check the local requirements.

So, you might be wondering “how do I get my CNA license in California?” As is the case with most jobs in the medical field, there are some requirements that you’ll need to meet before you can become a fully licensed CNA. The following are some of the requirements for any CNA role:


  • You must be 16 years of age or older.
  • You must be up-to-date with your immunization history.
  • You’ll need to have completed high school or received a GED.
  • You must successfully pass a criminal background test.
  • Since the job requires you to be on your feet, you should be in good physical health.


  1. Complete an accredited CNA training course.

In addition to the general biographical requirements, there are a few role-specific boxes you’ll need to check. First, you’ll need to complete an accredited course and graduate from a Certified Nursing Assistant program in California. Running anywhere from 6 to 12 weeks, a training course will equip you with the practical knowledge that you’ll need on the job as a CNA.


These programs need to include at least 60 hours of classroom training, but there are some programs that offer online options. If you’ve partially trained for another medical position or have received military training, those hours might be able to count towards your training.


  1. Complete clinical training.

Every future CNA needs to have at least 100 hours of supervised clinical training under their belt. These training hours will give you plenty of time to get a real sense of what a day in the life of a CNA entails. You’ll get hands-on experience and discover the ins and outs of the field.


  1. Pass the California state exam.

You’ll also need to pass the California state exam or certification test. In California, this is conducted through the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAP). The test includes two elements, a written exam and a clinical skills exam. The written exam is multiple-choice, and the skills component will be an assessment of your nursing skills. This test will cover the lessons you will have learned between your clinical experience and your classroom training. Once you’ve completed the test, you will be notified of your results within 30 days.


You can retake the exam up to 3 times within a 2-year period, but note that you will need to pay for each re-test. Also, be aware that you’ll need to take this exam within two years of finishing your training course and clinical training hours. If you do not complete the exam within this time frame, your training will expire and you will need to start the process over. 


  1. Prepare with additional training.

Although each of the above is a required step towards being a CNA, it also helps to have additional training. Individuals with more training are more likely to receive higher salaries than those with less experience, so it is a good idea to go above and beyond what are the requirements to be a CNA in California


A Basic Life Support (BLS) course for healthcare providers is a great place to start. These courses are specially designed for healthcare professionals like CNAs who want to learn more about CPR, AED use, and other patient support skills that could come in handy. Another excellent training option is Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), which will cover how to handle cardiovascular emergencies and patients experiencing respiratory and cardiac arrest.


Receive Your BLS Training With SureFire CPR

SureFire CPR offers Basic Life Support (BLS) course for healthcare providers, a fantastic option for anyone who is starting a career in healthcare. As healthcare professionals ourselves, we know how valuable it is to have hands-on learning experiences and engaging discussions. We want every student to leave the training feeling prepared to start their careers on the right foot. To find out more about our BLS or any other of our training courses, please contact us by filling out our online contact form.

So, are you ready to take the plunge and start becoming a CNA in California? Our team here at SureFire CPR wishes you the best of luck as you prepare for your career!

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About the author

I spent 15 years as a firefighter and paramedic...

And too often I would arrive on the scene of someone unconscious, surrounded by a circle of people feeling helpless. Sometimes those people would even have CPR training but lacked the confidence and experience to act.

That’s why I started SureFire CPR. Our classes are practical and engaging – teaching you the crucial skills you need to know what to do and feel empowered to take action.

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Zack Zarrilli, Founder

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