Precertification Nursing Assistant Training (CNA)

Overview Kristin Rothwell

Precertification Nursing Assistant Training

The Clinical Nursing Assistant Training Program is a one semester (16 week) course. It will provide you with the necessary education to prepare you to become a Clinical Nursing Assistant (CNA). Once you have successfully completed the program, you will be eligible to take the State of California Certification Examination to become a CNA. Once you have passed the exam, you can apply for employment at acute or long-term health care facilities. 

About the Program

Prerequisites to Apply

Before you apply for the CNA program, you must:

  • Complete one of the reading competency requirements listed below.
  • Submit a completed course application.
  • Submit a Declaration of Conviction/No Conviction form. The form can be found with the application. 
  • Submit Unofficial transcripts or assessment results verifying completion of prerequisite. Include with the application. 
Reading Competency Requirements

To meet Sierra College reading competency requirements, you must complete one of the following: 

  • Sierra College 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. 
  • Completion of English N or English 1A course*
  • Completion of ESL 25G course*
  • Placement in a higher course* by ESL matriculation assessment process

*Note: Courses must be completed with a grade “C” or better, posted to an applicable transcript at the time application is submitted. Courses “In Progress” are not accepted.

Requirements to Participate in Program

Students must meet California Department of Public Health regulatory requirements. Randomly selected students must submit to or possess: 

  • Fingerprinting and clear background check. All students will be fingerprinted at the Rocklin Campus. Please be advised, other than minor traffic violation, if you have been convicted of anything, including DUI, your fingerprints may not clear.
  • A physical examination and proof of freedom from common communicable illness/diseases by immunization or serologic testing is required prior to the patient care experience. This is at the student’s expense. 
  • Clear drug screen. This is at the student’s expense. 
  • CPR card for Healthcare Provider (American Heart Association). 
  • Valid Social Security card. 
  • Purchased uniform required to be worn during the clinical experience.
  • Class attendance requirements. 
  • All Essential Functions to qualify for course enrollment. See Program Requirements.

Program Requirements

These are the 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 and travel 1-2 hours.

Sensory Capability

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

Communication Ability

  1. Communicate effectively in English with patients, families and other health care providers, both verbally and in writing. Examples: explain treatment procedures, teach patient and families, and 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 and 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.

Application and Deadline

Acceptance into the CNA Program is by an application process. 

Apply Now

Fall applications for the Rocklin Campus will be accepted May 1 through May 31. The Nevada County Campus will not offer a CNA Program in Fall.

Spring applications for the Rocklin Campus and Nevada County Campus will be accepted October 1 through October 31.

The CNA program is not offered during the summer.


All applications* must be delivered in-person during regular business hours or mailed to the nursing department during each application cycle, to the following address:

Sierra College Nursing Department
Building RN-1
5100 Sierra College Blvd.
Rocklin, CA 95677

* Note: Applications will not be accepted after the final day of the application cycle so if you are mailing your application, allow enough time to process through our campus mail system.

Regular Business Hours

Monday – Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Note: No applications accepted at the Nevada County Campus or during non-business hours.

What to Expect After Submitting Application

All applications are reviewed. Randomly-selected applicants will be notified by email of the mandatory program orientation date, time and location. 

Costs and Expenses

Several variables, such as occasional fee increases and student health care plans, prohibit the ability to provide an exact financial figure. Based on current costs, students should expect to invest less than $1,000 for this program. 

Payee Tuition* Books Other
Student Paid 5.5 units: $253 Approximately $100-200

PPD Immunization and CPR Certification: Varies

Parking: $50

Photo ID: $10

Uniform: $50

Nursing Assistant Certificate: $105
Sierra College Paid     Live Scan Fee: $46

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

Mandatory Orientation

A mandatory orientation for this program will be held within two weeks of the application acceptance deadline. 

You must attend orientation and it must be at the site where you will be attending classes. 

  • Orientation for Rocklin Campus students
    Monday, November 18, 2019, 1 pm - 2:30 pm
    Building RN-1, Room 112
    5100 Sierra College Blvd., 
    Rocklin, CA 95677
  • Orientation for Nevada County Campus students
    Friday, November 22, 2019, 9 am – 10:30 am
    Building N6, Room 206
    250 Sierra College Drive, Grass Valley, CA 95945

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. 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 program. Budget and staffing permitting, we accept 12 students and 4-8 alternates each semester. 
  2. Do I need to take the CPR course before applying to the program?
    Applicants do not have to provide a copy of their CPR card to apply; however, selected students must complete the American Heart Association course for Healthcare Providers prior to enrolling in the class.
  3. I have one prerequisite 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. What is the licensure exam pass rate in California? 
    There is no public link to State licensure examination pass rates. Sierra College has a 100% pass rate.