CNA Certification in California

Qualified certified nursing assistants are in high demand in California.  As such, the state takes training of nursing assistants very seriously.  They want to ensure that all CNAs are able to provide the best level of care for their patients.  Nursing assistants assist patients with activities of daily living, monitor vital signs and provide other basic care services (primarily non-medical).

Training Requirements

The state of California requires more than double the federal mandated number of training hours for nursing assistants.  Prospective nursing assistants must complete 160 hours of training before they can sit for the nursing assistant certification test.  You will find that some training programs offer even more than 160 hours of instruction.

Courses must be approved by the state of California.  The nursing assistant training classes are designed to include classroom and clinical studies.  Students must complete a training course in its entirety before sitting for the certification exam.  Individuals cannot become certified until they pass the competency exam for nursing assistants.

Transfer of CNA Certification via Reciprocity to California

If you work or worked as a certified nursing assistant in another state, you might be able to become certified without difficulty in California.  You can apply for certification through reciprocity.  The application from can be obtained from the California Department of Public Health(CDPH)

Some of the reciprocity form will be completed by an official at the Nursing Aide Registry in the state where you are certified.  You will need to prove that you worked some hours for pay as a certified nursing assistant in the past 2 years.  A background check will be conducted before your certification can be transferred to California.

The nursing aide registry in California will ensure that your certification has not expired in the other state.  They will also make sure that you have had no complaints filed against you in your work as a certified nursing sssistant.

The exact steps for  for transferring your license are as follows:

(Note: Any forms referenced below can be downloaded from the California Department of Public Health website over at

1) Complete a “CNA license verification form” Form no CPDH931. This form has to be filled by yourself AND the Licensing body for nursing assistants in your current state.(where you have your license).

2) Complete the “Request for Live Scan Services” Form no BCIA 8016. This form is to verify that you have a clean criminal record. You will need to be fingerprinted at a facility designated by the DOJ in your area.

3) Complete the “Certified Nursing Assistant Initial Application Form” Form no CPDH 283B. Make sure you fill out the CNA part of the form and indicate that you are applying for reciprocity.

4) Make a copy of your state issued certificate.

5) Show proof of employment in the last two years. (you can use your pay stubs or an official letter from your employer. This is not necessary if your certificate has been issued less than two years ago.

Once you have completed the above documentation, send it over to:

California Department of Public Health (CDPH)
Licensing and Certification Program (L&C)
Aide and Technician Certification Section (ATCS)
MS 3301 P.O. Box 997416 Sacramento, CA
95899-7416 (916) 327-2445
FAX (916) 552-8785

Renewal of Certification

You will receive paperwork when it is time to renew your nursing assistant certification.  The form will be used to ensure that you have worked as a nursing assistant or performing nursing related duties for pay in the last 24 months.  Some sections of the renewal form will be completed by your employer.

The renewal form and any necessary papers and fees should be submitted to the address provided before your certification is set to expire.  Your license will not be renewed if you have committed any felonies or have any charges against you from patients.

It will be necessary to contact the CDPH(Dept of Public Health) in California if you have allowed your license to expire.  They will provide you with instructions on how you can start the process to renew your certification.  All requirements must be met before you will receive certification again.

Criteria For Renewal

– You will need to have completed at least 48 hours of in-service/continuing education units. A minimum of 12 of the 48 hours need to be completed each year of the 2 year certification period. A maximum of 24 hours may be taken only through a CDPH-approved online computer training program.

– You must have worked at least one day for compensation in a facility under the supervision of a licensed professional within the last two years.

If you fail to meet either of the above, you will still need to fill out the renewal form (form CPDH283C from the CDPH website) as well as re take the certification test. (you will be contacted by the CDPH about where to take your exam)


M. Jolly asked “Hello I have a current C.N.A. & H.H.A. license through California. It is due to expire in Feb. 2012. I haven’t actively worked any hours since obtaining my licenses. I Manage a staffing company. I did do a lot of number of hours of clinical work prior to being licensed. Is it required to work a minimum of hours to keep my licenses active? I would like to renew prior to it expiring. I also would like to know how I can transfer and keep it active in other states like Arizona. I’m pending acceptance into the nursing program and some schools require active licensures. Yet, again I have not worked actively since obtaining my C.N.A. and H.H.A. licenses”

You will need to have worked within the two years prior to expiry of your license to be able to renew it. You can not have licenses active in more than one state. It is however simple enough to transfer your active license to another state. If you fail to meet the working requirements, you will need to re take the CNA exam.

You will find these helpful: Free CNA classes in California and CNA training in California


53 Responses to CNA Certification in California

  1. Ana Gomez November 22, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

    my cna certified was expired few years ago, I am been taking pre- records for nursing (RN), I graduaded already from college last year, but i would like to renew my certified asap. would you please let me know how to do it

    • Admin December 1, 2010 at 11:00 pm #

      have you contacted the California board of nursing and followed the steps above?

  2. Pauline January 10, 2011 at 1:04 am #

    Can a CNA Certificate be renewed online. Also what do you do if you have not received a renewal form by mail prior to expiration time.

    • Admin January 13, 2011 at 7:40 pm #

      You can get the form online but in most cases you’d need to send it over to them by post.

  3. Leah May 25, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    How long after completing the CNA training in California, do I have to take the state certification exam?

    • Admin June 20, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

      Two years.

  4. kris June 8, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    I am having trouble finding a testing site in CA for my CNA. I finished my course and have the paper to take to the testing site but cannot find anywhere to go take the test.Can anyone help me with this?Also I live in Northern CA so if you know anywhere I could go in San Fransico or Sacramento that would be helpful. Thanks

    • Admin June 20, 2011 at 2:28 pm #

      Hi kris,
      I’m not too sure about training sites in California. Normally, the training center you got trained in helps you sign up for the test at a nearby testing facility.

      • Mando January 30, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

        Kris here is a no. for Southern Regional center 714 895 8708 they will give you the day and time. You can ask for their web page as well.

        • Admin January 30, 2012 at 8:30 pm #

          Thank you!

    • KAT July 8, 2011 at 3:05 am #

      Call the board of nursing they should be able to direct you to get your hands on test done i think you can even take the written and hands on at American river college in Sacramento. Call around

    • ..... September 1, 2011 at 5:23 am #

      red cross does the testing they have a testing center in rancho cordova ca (outside of sac)

  5. JUDY June 15, 2011 at 8:37 pm #

    I have taken the CNA training program in phoenix, Arizona. I have completed the 80 hours of theory and 4o hours of clinical the total of 120 hours. I am moving to california within the month or two. Reason says to take the here will be useless for I would have to pay for one in California. My question to you is could I take the test there with this CNA class completion or do I have to take a class there in California? and if so what is the cost for the test or the class? Thank you for your time in reading this.

    • Admin June 18, 2011 at 12:57 pm #

      Hi Judy,
      I would advise taking the test in Arizona before you move to California. It is cheaper to transfer your certification to another state rather than having to do the whole training again.

  6. Luis Valladares August 30, 2011 at 10:19 pm #

    Hello: I want to renew my license as CNA/CHHA in CA. I have not worked as any of both for the lasts two months. Can you tell me how to do it.. My status in the registry list right now is REVOKED.

    • Admin October 5, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

      You can submit the renewal form only if you have worked in some capacity as a CNA in the last two years. You have two years from the date of expiry to apply for renewal. Look up our renewal guidelines above and contact the CDPH using the address given if in doubt.

  7. Mia September 8, 2011 at 4:01 am #

    I got my CNA in Idaho July 2010. I have not not worked yet but I would like to work and transfer it in California. I understand that you have to show a pay stub within two years. Can I still transfer?

    • Admin October 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

      Yes, you have to show a pay stub indicating at least 10-20 hours of employment. But, in your case it hasn’t been 2 years since you got your license so you should be able to transfer it without a problem.

  8. Lizzie September 19, 2011 at 8:14 pm #

    I have just been certified in Hawaii through American Red Cross. My husband just received orders to go to California. We are moving in a month and I have not been able to work as a CNA here… What steps will I need to transfer or will I have to take the training program again? And also what is the total amount of hours needed to be able to transfer to another state?

    • Admin October 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm #

      As long as you have a valid license in Hawaii you should be able to transfer it to most states using a process called reciprocity. Contact the CNA registry in California to get a form for reciprocity.

  9. tony December 20, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    I am a cna – my license expires in 2012, but thus far I have not worked in 2011. The year is almost done and would like confirmation as to the minimum of hours I am required to work a year as a cna in order to retain my license

    • Admin December 20, 2011 at 10:06 pm #

      Hi Tony,
      Its around 8 to 12 hours for pay over two years in most states.

      • tony December 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

        Thanks Admin – I am in Florida- hope the same rule applies here

  10. tony December 29, 2011 at 12:21 am #

    I have done my 12 CNA ceu’s on my own – how do I go about reporting this to Talahassee (I live in Florida) How would they know that I have done them. I previously worked at a facility and they did all the paper work, but this is the first time I am doing this on my own- Confused- please held Admin –

  11. sara January 20, 2012 at 5:31 am #

    I completed my cna nine years ago and i did not renew it i worked in a hospital in the subacute unit for four years . Can i take the test in another state. I can t do it in california. Can i only take the test and transfer here in ca?

  12. Kim February 27, 2012 at 3:50 pm #

    I was originally certified as a CNA in CA and filed for reciprocity to South Carolina approx ten years ago. I am planning on moving back to CA and would like to file for reciprocity.How
    long before i move should i file ( i am currently working as a cna and would like to continue to work until I move ), or will i be able to work in CA if I wait until I move to file? As far as I know, my HHA certification was not transferred because it was not required here. What will I have to get to obtain the HHA certification again in CA?

    • Admin February 27, 2012 at 6:36 pm #

      You should file for reciprocity as soon as you’re in the state you’re moving to. You can’t do it before that if you want to continue working. As far as the HHA certification is concerned, you’ll need to get a new one if you haven’t renewed it for the last 10 years. You should be fine with just the CNA certification though.

  13. Maria March 2, 2012 at 6:23 am #

    I need help…I have a CNA license in AZ but is expired, i just moved to CA and i have worked as a caregiver for almost 4 months i did a class to be a caregiver through the San Bernardino county is a caregiver certification…i want to transfer my CNA license to CA, what do i need to do first…should i try and renew it in AZ first even know im living in CA and then transfer it to CA????? i would really aprecciate some help here…thanks…

  14. kris March 10, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    im nursing graduate at the Philippines and move here at California.. i want to start to be a CNA before taking the board exam for nursing.. my questions is how can i get certification for cna? do i still have to go for a program for CNA? even im already a BSN graduate?

  15. Nicole June 15, 2012 at 8:33 am #

    Hi, I have been working part time as a CNA at an in-home care agency for the past 1 1/2 years. I was not made aware of having to have 48 hours of CEU’s until last night when my mom said something. My certificate expires in December and I need to keep working. I dont know what to do. Can someone help me?

  16. kristel June 30, 2012 at 2:13 am #

    i completed my cna training 6 years ago but never took the licensing test…would i need to go back to school?

  17. Jessica July 2, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    Yes i live in NEW MEXICO im going to be moving to california i need to know how to get my nm cna license transfered to California? Also how do i change my last name i had got married . Thank you Jessica Gutierrez

  18. Wanda Harrison August 4, 2012 at 11:27 pm #

    Hi, My CNA License in California has been expired for well over 4 years. Am I still a state mandated reporter of child abuse?

  19. ltcwright October 29, 2012 at 1:23 am #

    I was told that no online classses are accepted by the state of california for continue education for cna how can one obtain classes since so many have closed and those avalible are more than my monthly salary

    • Toni December 13, 2012 at 6:00 am #

      I live in California and I took my CEU’S on it is very simple and lots of fun you learn alot. Actually I liked it so much I took every CEU they offered it only cost 24.99 to be a member for two years. So now I have a question for you. I am really confused about the CNA/HHA renewal. I have all my online CEU’S and all my classroom CEU’S. For two years and I am currently employed I work 22 hours a week with two clients and I perform CNA nursing duties with both of them. But I am not sure this will count for my CNA renewal. I think that I have to have 8 hours in a facility under the supervision of an RN or Doctor. Do you know how that works? Someone told me if I have a letter from the Power of Attorney for my client and a paycheck that it might be ok so does anyone know???????
      thank you

  20. Laura January 3, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    I have my CNA license i got it about a year ago but currently do not work as a CNA i work in medical billing but i would like to keep my cna license is there a way to renew it without working for pay as a cna. i live in ca by the way thanks for your help

  21. pam January 11, 2013 at 5:26 am #

    im nursing graduate in the Philippines and move here at California. i want to start to be a CNA. how can i get certification for cna? do i need to enroll a program for CNA or can I just take the examination for it? im a BSN graduate and had have clinical duties and procedures done w/n the scope of cna practice. Pls. Help me.thankyou

    • hannah January 29, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

      hi pam, I’m also a nursing graduate in the Philippines , can i have your facebook accnt pam? maybe i can help you with that,

      • olga February 20, 2013 at 12:25 am #

        hi i have the same situation as pam (nursing graduate), i would like to have guidance-information in what are the requirements for me to became a CNA in California. please

  22. Erika Valles February 1, 2013 at 9:56 pm #

    I am certified in California and moved to Texas and I need the address where to send my form to transfer my C.N.A through reciprocity. I’ve sent it to the po box 997416 Sacramento, CA 95899 Twice now and I guess I am sending it to the wrong place. Also if there is a fax that I can send it to instead of mailing it.

  23. jay February 24, 2013 at 10:05 pm #

    hello. I need your help, I didn’t have enough ceu’s to renew my license. I was told by the department of health to retake the cna test..I’ve sent them my renewal form and I’m waiting for them to send me a letter where to test.. but my license expires next month! I wanted to know what will happen if I don’ t fix this problem before my license expiration date?…please help..Thanks!

  24. Rennie February 28, 2013 at 8:11 am #

    Can you renew your CNA in CA if you have received a DUI within the last 2 years?

  25. Evelyn May 17, 2013 at 4:53 am #

    Hello I got my CNA license a while back well it will be two years in September and i have not worked in it and i want to know if continuing school will count toward my hours?

  26. Raynier de Guzman June 3, 2013 at 3:04 pm #

    Hey hi. I’m an RN from the Philippines, now residing in LA. I want to know how I can get certified as a CNA. Do I still have to undergo training? How’s the process? Thank you!

  27. Laura June 26, 2013 at 7:22 am #

    Hello, I am planning to take a CNA class in future. There is one thing that has me speculating if by any chance my misdemeanor offense for theft as a minor will it affect me in any way? Is it necessary for me to mention this act even though it occurred before I was 18 years of age? I work at a hospital ED and HR paper work returned with no criminal history reports.

  28. Demita Pinchback August 27, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    I took the pre-test to see if i could pass the test i flunked the math portion, i need to get pass that and try somewhere else. Please help me or show me what i need to do to get passed and become a certified nurse assistant

  29. Alexandria January 30, 2014 at 2:20 am #

    Hi, I obtained my CNA in Alaska in 2011. I let it expire there due to lack of positions available and also I joined the military and was gone for some time. I was wondering if the course I took in Alaska could transfer and qualify me for the exam here and just take the exam here to become certified and begin looking for CNA jobs in California.

  30. Genie February 7, 2014 at 3:51 pm #


    Please, Where can I find the “CNA License Verification form” to begin the reciprocity.

    Thank you for advance to answer me.

  31. Chandra April 27, 2014 at 12:16 am #

    Hello, my CA CNA license has been expired for 9 yrs. My question is can I re certify or do I need to take the classes over? If recertfication is possible, what steps do I need to make?

  32. Roby sales August 5, 2014 at 2:04 am #

    I am a registered midwife in the philippines… What are the requirements I should have to take the CNA exam here in states.

  33. Taylor August 10, 2014 at 10:01 pm #

    Hi, I moved to California with my husband last year. He is stationed here. I have already transferred my Utah CNA license here. However, I have not worked as a CNA out here. I am a full time college student. I was looking at the renewal requirements, and it says I am required to have 48 hours of in-service/CEUs which isn’t a problem since i’ve taken well over 48 hours worth of classes. It also says that I need to have worked at least one day in a facility with residents, preforming nursing, or nursing related duties under the supervision of a licensed medical professional. My question is…. can I still renew my certification without having worked? I am a full time student, and I am not currently working, nor do I plan to in the near future. I think CEUs should be enough to be able to renew… I don’t know how I can be expected to do one day in a facility when I do not work in one. If I end up having to re take the competency exam to renew my certification, is it just the written test, or the skills portion too?

  34. Jake April 13, 2016 at 9:46 am #

    I am a CNA from Wisconsin and want to transfer to California. I have been a CNA for over the past 2 years and I still work. Can I send the reciprocity papers before I move? I still want to work here for a couple more months. I am in the process of buying a condo. That leads to my other question. Should I put my Wisconsin address on the reciprocity papers? Thank you.

  35. Christina June 6, 2022 at 5:51 am #

    Hi I took the program and submitted my application and fee off 2 months before my 2 year expiration and they gave me a test date 2 weeks after it expired. I took the test and passed, so do I still get certified because the date of submission on my application is 2 months before my expiration date. Or do I gotta take the course over again because I tested 2 weeks after it expired. It was not my fault they gave me a testing date after my expiration because I was still in good standing when I filed the application. Also I got time taken from me because while I was finishing my program Covid shut every down. Please help me.

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