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Precertification Nursing Assistant Training (CNA)

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Thank you for your interest in becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant. The Precertification Nursing Assistant Training Program is a one semester (16 week) course which provides the education necessary to prepare students for certification. Upon successful completion, students will be eligible to take the State of California Certification Examination to become a Nursing Assistant qualified for employment in an acute or long-term health care facility. Testing and certification fees are required. There is no public link to State licensure examination pass rates.


Applications for the upcoming Fall semester will be ACCEPTED MAY 1st through MAY 31st each Spring semester.

Applications for the upcoming Spring semester will be ACCEPTED OCTOBER 1st through OCTOBER 31st each Fall semester.

Applications may be mailed or delivered to: 

Sierra College Nursing Department
Bldg RN-1
5000 Rocklin Road
Rocklin, CA 95677

Normal business hours are:

Monday-Thursday 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Friday 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Do not drop off applications outside of normal business hours, please.

This course is not offered in Summer.

Mandatory Orientation

  • A mandatory Orientation for this course will be held within two weeks of the application acceptance deadline
  • All applications are reviewed and randomly-selected qualified applicants will be notified via email of the mandatory course Orientation date, time, and location

Selected Students

Selected students must be fingerprinted and submit documentation related to received convictions; certification may be denied. Students must meet California Department of Public Health regulatory requirements for class attendance, health and drug clearance, background check clearance and have a valid social security number and CPR card (for Healthcare Provider) to participate in the course. In addition, students will be required to purchase a uniform to be worn during the clinical experience.

Student Costs

Several variables, such as occasional fee increases and student healthcare plans, prohibit the ability to provide an exact financial figure; however, based on current costs, students should expect to invest less than $1,000 for this course.

CNA Course Cost Break Down
Tuition* Books Other
Student Paid 5.5 units: $253 Approx: $100-200 PPD Immunization and CPR Certification
Drug Screen: $50
Parking: $50
Photo ID: $10
Uniform: $50
Nursing Assistant Certification: $105
Sierra College Paid     Live Scan Fee: $46

*Tuition is subject to change due to mandatory campus wide fee increases.

Include unofficial transcripts or assessment results with application.

Program Requirements

Essential Functions Required of All Nursing Students

Motor Capability

  1. Move from room to room and maneuver in small places.
  2. Transfer patients who may require physical assistance.
  3. Guard and assist patients with ambulation.
  4. Lift and carry up to 50 pounds and exert up to 100 pounds force for push/pull.
  5. Squat, bend/stoop, reach above shoulder level, kneel, use standing balance, and climb stairs.
  6. Use hands repetitively; use manual dexterity.
  7. Adjust, apply, and clean therapeutic equipment.
  8. Perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
  9. Travel to and from academic and clinical sites.
  10. In the average clinical day, students sit 1-2 hours; stand 6-7 hours, travel 1-2 hours.

Sensory Capability:

  1. Coordinate verbal and manual instruction.
  2. Assess a client 10 feet away to observe client's posture and respond to treatment.
  3. Respond to a timer, alarm, or cries for help.
  4. Monitor vital signs.
  5. Auditory, visual, and tactile ability sufficient to assess patient status and perform treatments (Example: color changes in skin, hear heart and lung sounds).

Communication Ability:

  1. Communicate effectively in English with patients, families, and other health care providers, both verbally and in writing (Example: explain treatment procedures, teach patient and families, document in medical records).
  2. Effectively adapt communication for intended audience.
  3. Interact, establish rapport with individuals, families, and groups from a variety of social, emotional, cultural, and intellectual backgrounds.
  4. Assume the role of a health care team member.
  5. Function effectively under supervision.

Problem Solving Ability:

  1. Function effectively under stress.
  2. Test taking within predefined time constraints.
  3. Respond appropriately to emergencies.
  4. Adhere to infection control procedures.
  5. Demonstrate problem solving skills in client care (measure, calculate, reason, prioritize, synthesize data).
  6. Use sound judgment and safety precautions.
  7. Address problems or questions to the appropriate person at the appropriate time.
  8. Organize and prioritize tasks.
  9. Follow policies and procedures required by clinical and academic settings.

Program Prerequisites

In order to participate in the course, students must meet the Sierra College reading competency requirements. This may be achieved by completing prerequisite courses or by placement on an assessment exam. 

Assessment: Must meet English 11 eligibility or indicate “Reading Competency Met.” Assessments taken outside of Sierra College must be submitted to the Sierra College Assessment Center for verification.

Prerequisite Courses: Must be completed, with grades posted to applicable transcript at the time application is submitted; courses “in progress” are not accepted. 

  • Completion of English 50 and English A  with grades of “C” or better 


  • Completion of E.S.L. 540W, 540R, 25G and 25L with grades of “C” or better
  • Placement in a higher course by ESL matriculation assessment process

As mandated by the California Department of Public Health: 

  • A physical examination and proof of freedom from common communicable illness/diseases by immunization or serologic testing is required (at the student’s expense) prior to the patient care experience.
  • Students must be fingerprinted and submit a Declaration of Conviction/No Conviction form required by the California Department of Public Health. Please be advised, if you have been convicted of anything other than a minor traffic violation (this includes DUI), your fingerprints will not clear.
  • Students must have a clear background check.
  • Students must have a clear drug screen.
  • Students must meet all Essential Functions to qualify for course enrollment.

Frequently Asked Questions

How many applications do you receive, and how many students are selected?
For the past application cycles, we have received 30-50 applications for the Precertification Nursing Assistant course. Budget and staffing permitting, we accept 12-24 students and 4-8 alternates each semester. Alternates who are not admitted in the class for which they were chosen as an alternate automatically receive placement in the next class.

Do I need to take the CPR course before applying to the program?
No. We no longer require CPR as an application requirement.

I have one pre-requisite course left to take. Can I still apply to the program?
No. All prerequisite courses must be completed and posted to the appropriate transcript prior to applying for the program.

I took English 1A. Does this meet the English A and English 50 prerequisite?
We recommend you see a counselor for this question.

If I have been convicted of an offense may I still apply for the program?
We recommend that you review the list of Penal Codes that prevent a person from applying for certification as a nursing assistant.

If I have committed a previous legal infraction, or have ended employment in a negative fashion with any clinical site used by Sierra College, can I still be in the program?
All clinical sites have final right of approval regarding who may participate in clinical rotations in their facility.

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