What are the State Requirements for Becoming an STNA in California?

February 3, 2020

STNA standing near the steps of a hospital.

A State Tested Nursing Assistant (STNA) is an interesting field of healthcare work with an excellent employment outlook. It provides the opportunity for hands-on patient care in nursing with a minimum amount of education and training. It can be a good entry-level position in the nursing field, with opportunity to advance with additional training and study.

Choose Your Path

There are three paths to become an STNA. The first path is for those just entering the field. The second is for those who have completed some study toward their RN or LPN. The third is for those who are licensed in another state and looking for reciprocity. The second and third paths will require providing documentation and proof of education, training, and previous employment, while the first begins with finding a program.

Complete an Approved Program

Approved programs require sixty hours of classroom instruction and one hundred hours of clinical training. There are many schools in California that offer approved programs. The curriculum includes courses that cover sixteen required modules. In some programs, a portion of coursework may be available online. Schools typically offer daytime, evening, and weekend programs to meet the needs of their students.

Pass the State Exam

California uses the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) Examination. The NNAAP is a two part exam that evaluates your knowledge, skills, and abilities. There is a written (or oral) examination and a skills evaluation. You must pass both parts. The written examination consists of seventy multiple choice questions, while the oral option includes sixty oral questions and ten reading comprehension questions.

The skills evaluation requires you to perform five randomly selected skills within 25 minutes while an evaluator observes. Every student must act as a volunteer for another student’s exam.

You must take the exam within two years of completing the training. You have three attempts to pass both parts of the exam. If you fail one or both parts after three attempts, you will be allowed to go through the training program again.

Get Fingerprinted and Pass a Background Check

STNA candidates are not certified until they pass a background check and go through fingerprinting. In some cases, this is completed before acceptance into an approved program. In addition, you may be asked to provide a medical history and pass a drug test.

Apply for Certification

Once you have completed all the requirements and passed the exams and background check, you will receive your certification by mail and be listed on the California Nursing Assistant Registry.

Pursue a Career as a STNA

State Tested Nursing Assistants can work in a variety of medical facilities with many employment opportunities. STNAs may work in assisted living facilities, mental health facilities, hospitals, nursing homes, health clinics, and even private homes. STNAs assist with daily living activities for a variety of patients. They will also take vitals, document behaviors, examine patients, and more.

Keep Your Certification Current

You need to renew your certification every two years to remain on the registry. You’ll need to have 48 hours of Continuing Education Units (CEUs) to keep your certification current. You’ll need to make sure you document all of your hours to submit when you renew.

Being a State Tested Nursing Assistant can be a physically and emotionally demanding job at times, but it is an excellent stable career in healthcare. Trinity School of Health and Allied Sciences offers an accredited STNA program that will set you up for success in this rewarding career. Contact us today for more information about our campus and programs.