CNA Certification in Washington

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There are specific requirements that are necessary to meet to cherish the dream of working as a Certified Nursing Assistant in the state of Washington.

The process of becoming a CNA includes taking the state approved training programs and qualifying the examination. The qualified students are passed on to the state’s registry then.

There are two departments under the Washington State Aging and Disabilities Service Administration (the ADSA). Those two departments are- one is the Department of Health (DOH) and the other is the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). Both these departments monitor the CNA training and certification program.

Eligibility Criteria

Before applying for the training programs and taking the exam, it is needed to meet the given below the basic guidelines:

  • The age of candidates must not be less than 18 years;
  • All candidates must take a criminal background check that examines child support issues, fingerprinting data, felony offenses;
  • They must be High School graduates or possess proof of a GED; and
  • They must undertake a complete physical examination that includes drug screening, TB screening and general health examination. Documentary evidence of the latest immunizations is also important.

How to Apply

Candidates who never had any nursing related training and been certified, are obliged to take the training first and the exam after that. After candidates with the given below qualifications have luxury to take the examination directly without taking the training:

  • Out of state graduate nurses who have taken the classroom studies of minimum 35 hours and clinical training of at least 50 hours;
  • Graduate and student nurses, possessing evidence of the approved training taken by them;
  • Lapsed CNAs who have not discharged nursing services for minimum 24 months prior; or
  • Military nursing aids who completed specified training programs.

Those who need to attain the training program can reach to the ADSA website at this link to know the state approved programs by locations:

Candidates must complete 50 clinical hours and 35 classroom hours to become eligible for testing.


The cost of taking training programs in Washington varies, and tends to fall in the range of $ 1000 and $ 2000. Besides this, there are extra expenses in the form of Pearson Vue testing fees.

The testing is done in two parts. First part carries 70 multiple choice questions and the second one is a skill evaluation where candidates perform 5 randomly chosen skills out of the given 25 clinical skills. It is advised to take both parts of the exams on the same day.

Pearson Vue testing fees are as follows:

Both Skills and Written testing: $ 110
Both Skills and Oral testing: $ 110
Only Skills testing: $ 74
Only Written testing: $ 36
Only Oral testing: $ 36

Certificate Renewal

  • CNA certification remains valid for 2 years in Washington.
  • Renewal of certification is done on the individual’s date of birth through the DOH.

Must Know Facts

  • Under the Federal Laws, employers cover the training and testing associated fees of their aspiring CNAs.
  • Candidates are obliged to qualify the examination within 24 months of their training. In the case of getting failed, taking the training again is the only option to get eligible for the exam.
  • Some professional citations, criminal offenses and other background related issues can prevent CNAs from working in the state.
  • Exam has to be passed within 3 attempts otherwise retraining is needed to appear for the exam again.

Candidates enrolled in an approved program can work as a CNA for up to 4 months before receiving the license. These candidates are obliged to get registered in the state’s registry during that period of 120 days.  If they are unable to earn the certification in that time duration they can’t work as a CNA further. Candidates must fill a DOH application within 3 days of the commencement of employment. Those who are not enrolled in any training program are not allowed to perform duties of a nursing aide.