CNA Classes in California | 23 Training Programs to Fast-track Your Career

Have you been considering going to school to become a certified nursing assistant? If you’re living in the golden state, you’re in luck because there are a ton of CNA classes in California available! 

There are a ton of great reasons to become a CNA, whether you have a heart for wanting to help people, or you just enjoy the medical field. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a lot of money on classes and certification like you may think! 

Below you’ll be learning everything there is to know about CNA classes in California, what you’ll be learning, how much you can make as a CNA and a thorough list of schools that you can attend! 

Let’s start by talking a bit about the CNA exam in California! 

Who administers the CNA exam in California?

CNA certification in California is administered by Pearson VUE. California is one of the 25 states that use National Nurse Aide Assessment Program when it comes to certification. During the CNA exam, you’re have to pass several different tests.

There is a knowledge portion that is written and has several multiple choice questions. You then have the skills portion of the exam where your hands on skills are tested, making sure you can actually perform tasks that will be required of you. 

You get one free retake of the test, the others you must pay for if needed. There is also a limit of taking the test three times within a two year period. 

California State Requirements for CNAs

Whether you’re looking for a CNA job in Los Angeles, or anywhere else in California, there are approved programs you’ll need to take in order to be certified. When you attend an approved program, you will need to complete at least 60 hours of classroom work, on top of 100 hours of supervised training. 

If you have partial completion of an LPN or RN program, you may be able to meet requirements, as well as if you have training from the military. 

California CNA Exam Details

As you read earlier, the exam itself is multiple choice questions, mixed with a bit of actual skill testing.

If English is hard for you to understand, there is the option of taking the test orally. 

There are usually 80 multiple choice questions when taking the exam.

During the skills part of the exam, you’ll have to perform five random tasks and pass them all in order to pass the exam. These tasks can be anything like taking vitals, reading a patient's chart, to stocking the proper materials for the nurse.

If after the exam, you don’t believe your score is accurate, you are able to challenge it, or retake it if needed. One thing to note is that CNA license verification in California can take a bit longer than some think, so please be patient!

How much does a CNA get paid in California?

When you finally have your CNA license in California, you’re going to want to find a full time job that pays great! This varies a lot based on what city you’re applying in, and what type of facility it is. Certified nursing assistants in California can work at a hospital, nursing home, clinic, or a specific medical office such as an orthopedic center. 

CNA salaries in California range from $29,000 per year, up to $43,000 per year. This is 5% above the national average. Certified nursing assistants can start as low as $10 an hour in nursing homes, or get as much as $20 an hour in hospitals. 

Where can I take the CNA exam in California?

California is a large state, and because of that, there are plenty of different places where you can take the CNA exam. Whether you’re in Northern California, Southern California, or anywhere in between, you can find out where you can take the CNA exam closest to you by clicking here.

CNA schools in California

Below you’ll read about 24 of the top schools where you can take CNA courses throughout all of California. 

American River College

american river colege

American River College is a great option to take your CNA classes. It is located in the Sacramento region and has a diverse community of students.

One reason people go to American River College is because it has flexible scheduling options. This can be great if you have an already busy life! 

If you’re transferring, no worries, this college makes the process easy. The staff is known for being accessible to students, and engaged in classes. This California college is relatively inexpensive, and the nursing program won’t take up a ton of your time.

Pasadena City College

There are over 30,000 students who attend Pasadena City College. The school is located in San Gabriel Valley and has a great CNA program available. This university is known for its diversity; whether you’re a veteran, part of the LGBTQ+ community, multicultural or anything in between, you’ll be welcomed there! 

The staff has plenty of experience, and there are on campus counselors that care about student’s needs, school life and mental health. Pasadena City College has been around for nearly 100 years, as it opened in 1924!

Bakersfield College

If you didn’t already know, Bakersfield College is one of America’s oldest community colleges. It opened its doors in 1913 and sits on a whopping 153 acres. There are over 33,000 students that attend Bakersfield College. 

Classes are offered on a traditional 16 week schedule, and this includes there nursing assistant program. This community college prides themselves on the economic, cultural and educational diversity that can be found on the campus and throughout the halls.

College of the Canyons

college of the canyons in santa clarita

College of the Canyons is located in Santa Clarita, California and has two campus locations within the city. There are options for high school students to take on PSEO, as well as adults to take classes online, or in person. 

There are a plethora of different courses available at the College of the Canyons, including awesome CNA courses.

There are also a lot of different activities for those that like to keep a busy social calendar. If you live north of Los Angeles, this is a community college you may want to check out! 

Southwestern College, Chula Vista

Though Southwestern College has multiple campuses, most of the programs are available at the Chula Vista location. This is another college that prides itself in a vast amount of diversity within the programs, students and faculty. 

There are over 300 programs available in person, and online, including nursing assistant programs. If you’d like, you can visit their website to take a virtual tour of the campus. Southwestern College has plenty of events every month that bring a sense of community to the school. If you’d like to tour the campus in person, you can find this campus located south of San Diego, just north of the Mexico border. 

Citrus College

If you’re looking for an inexpensive place to get your CNA courses done, Citrus College may be a school to consider. It’s located in a suburb of Los Angeles called Glendora, and there are around 19,000 students every year. 

This school has been around for over 100 years, and opened its doors in 1915! As of the time this is written, the school is expanding the amount of faculty it has to improve student’s experience at Citrus College. 

Classes are offered all year round, and they have night, weekend and online course options as well! 

College of the Desert

college of the desert is located in palm desert

Located in Palm Desert, near Coachella, California is the College of the Desert. There are around 12,500 students that attend this school, one third of which are full time students.

This school is unique, as it is federally recognized as a Hispanic-serviing institution. Because of this, the school receives Title V grants. 

There are plenty of programs available in the medical field here, and this public community college has a ton of extracurricular activities such as football and soccer. If you want to see a virtual tour of this school, you can do so by clicking here

Merced College

Merced College is another schooling option that isn’t too hard on the wallet. This school opened its doors in 1962, and is located in Merced, California, just southwest of Yosemite National Park. The school focuses on the basic skills you’ll need to become a successful CNA in California. 

The focus on student success, self-reflection, diversity and keeping your eyes on the future. The school motto for Merced College is: "Students are our focus and we are known by their success". There are plenty of options for financial aid and grants available to help alleviate the cost of tuition. 

Butte College

If you’re looking to go to school in northern California, you may want to check out Butte College. There is a location in Chico, and one in Orland. There are always a ton of events every month at Butte College. 

Whether you just graduated high school, you’re a single parent, or you’re just about to retire, there are plenty of programs available for everyone at Butte College.

There is financial aid available and the staff is well educated and professional. 

There are roughly 17,000 students that attend Butte every year. The school itself actually focuses a lot on sustainability, so if that is a passion of yours, it’s a college worth looking at! 

Mission College

Mission College prides itself on the ability to teach students using hands on training and giving them a degree that can be transferred anywhere. Mission College is located in Santa Clara, California, just west of San Jose. 

They offer 84 different degrees and/or certificates. There are a variety of different students, that come from all over the world. There are 33 countries represented at Mission College. There are plenty of events every month, ranging from symphony auditions, to shooter safety Q&A sessions. 

Santiago Canyon College

Just East of Anaheim you’ll find Santiago Canyon College. It’s located in a city called Orange and is one of two campuses within the Ranch Santiago Community College District. This is another public community college, which means tuitions are much lower than other colleges. 

The school motto at Santiago Canyon is: “Each day, each moment, each step counts. Your future is important. What you do each day to get there is more important.” They have a ton of great courses, including one for certified nursing assistants. This school has an amazing soccer team and plenty of monthly events to keep you busy! 

Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo

One of the more expensive colleges on this list is Cuesta College, San Luis Obispo. This college is located just northwest of Santa Barbera, near the coast. They have free bus rides throughout the city that bring students to and from their homes

There are three different campuses, the main one is San Luis Obispo, followed by North County campus and South County Campus.

They keep their website up to date with any important information you may need to know. One of the best things about this school is that their staff is professional and dedicated to the students at Cuesta College. 

City College of San Francisco, San Francisco

As you can probably guess from the name, this college is located in San Francisco, California. One of the best things about the City College of San Francisco is that they offer free English classes for everyone. 

There is also the option to take classes online, or in person. If you’re taking the CNA courses here, you may want to remember that part of the course work must be done in person. They offer new student counseling, as well as plenty of athletic options for extra curriculars. 

The City College of San Francisco is home for over 65,000 students every year. The school opened its doors in 1935. 1 in every 9 students is a San Francisco native. 

Solano Community College

Solano Community College is located between San Francisco and Sacramento. There are over 10,000 students annually that attend this school. There are monthly events, such as, blood drives, theater auditions and sporting games. 

This school is a cheaper option if you’re looking at completing your certified nursing assistant courses in Fairbanks, California. It has been around since 1945 and they accept students of all walks of life. 

Santa Rosa Junior College

Santa Rosa Junior College has a motto that goes like this: “Building on a legacy of excellence”.

This Junior College located in Santa Rosa, California has just under 40,000 students every year.

It is one of the top three nursing schools in California when it comes to certification and licensing. 

The student to faculty ratio is about 20 to 1, which leaves faculty not overwhelmed and available for their students. One unique thing about this college is that there is no application fee and that there is an open admissions policy. 

Reedley College

Reedley College has a beautiful campus located southeast of Fresno, in Reedley, California. There are around 15,000 students that attend this college annually and the doors have been open since 1926. 

The current campus sits on around 400 acres of land and back in 1980 the name was changed to Kings River Community College. By popular demand, they change the name back to Reedley. This school has a lot of notable alumni that are mostly NFL players. 

The staff are caring and professional, and there are plenty of CNA courses available for you here!

Imperial Valley College

One of the smallest colleges on our list goes to Imperial Valley College. There are just under 9,000 students that attend this college every year. The campus sits on 160 acres in Imperial Valley, California. 

Their motto is: “where success begins”. There are over 150 full time staff members at Imperial Valley College. Their main focus is to improve your intellect, abilities and help develop your character. They have a diverse campus and are located in a rural area, whereas most of the college on this list are in cities. 

Ventura College

One of the only state-funded community colleges on this list is Ventura College. As you can tell by the name, this school is located in Ventura, California. It opened in 1925 and there are around 14,000 students every year. 

Their CNA program is relatively inexpensive, costing you just over $700 total.

Even with a price that low, there are still financial aid options for qualifying students of Ventura College. The staff are focused on the students and teaching them the best skills to get them prepared for their future careers. 

Contra Costa College

Another small school on this list is Contra Costa College. There are just under 8,000 students that attend here annually. This college is located in the suburban town of San Pablo, California. It is considered to be a part of the California community college system. 

There are a plethora of notable MLB and NFL players that graduated from Contra Costa College including, Travis Williams and Pumpsie Green. The first classes ever conducted at this community college took place all the way back in 1950. Lastly, this school is heavily focused on making sure that all students, no matter their race feel accepted and that equality is given to all. 

Los Angeles Mission College

Los Angeles Mission College is located in the Sylmar district of Los Angeles. There are around 11,000 students that go to this school every year. It has a beautiful campus that has been open since 1975.

They pride themselves on a code of conduct that includes the following rules:

  • The pursuit of excellence in all our endeavors.

  • Intellectual curiosity and the desire to learn.

  • A global vision that understands and appreciates the common goals and purposes of all people.

  • An appreciation of diversity that nourishes mutual respect and solidarity.

  • Integrity and collegiality in all our interactions.

  • Service to the campus and the local community.

Rio Hondo College

Rio Hondo College opened its doors in 1960 and now is home to over 22,000 students every year. This community college is located in Whittier, California. One cool fact about this school is they help their students prepare for taxes every year for free!

It is one of the only colleges, and the first to offer free tuition for the first two years if you’re a first time college student. This college prides themselves on being financially responsible and teaches their students how to do the same. 

Evergreen Valley College

Another community college that makes the list is Evergreen Valley College. The first class this school ever had graduated in 1975. You will find over 8,000 students attending this school annually. 

It sits on nearly 200 acres, the mascot is a hawk and there are beautiful parks and fountains throughout the campus, which are great spots to study!

The certification for CNA is hands on and in-depth, teaching you everything you need to know. 

Santa Barbara City College

The second to last college we’re going to be talking about is Santa Barbara City College. As the name suggests, this public community college is located in Santa Barbara, California. The doors first opened all the way back in 1909. 

There are plenty of different associate degree and certification programs available at this school. The campus is a bit smaller than the others on this list, sitting on just 74 acres. The CNA classes range from 15 to 45 students each class and the courses run twice every year. 

West Los Angeles College

The last school on our list that has CNA courses is West Los Angeles College. It is near Baldwin Hills and Culver City in California. This is a public community college that has been around since 1969. 

There are around 10,000 students attending West Los Angeles College every year. You’ll be able to apply for one of 600 degrees, or get a certificate in one of 39 fields. This is one of the only community colleges in California where you can get a bachelor’s degree as well.