The Certified Nursing Assistant Program at Saddleback College was established to empower students to gain the skills and knowledge of providing basic patient care as a member of the healthcare team. The Nursing Assistant Program prepares students for employment as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) in a variety of health care settings ranging from acute care hospitals to skilled nursing facilities. This program is approved by the Department of Public Health, State of California (CDPH).

Fall 16 Week Application Open May 13, 2024 - June 12, 2024.

We are delighted to welcome you to Saddleback College and the CNA program! Whether you are beginning or continuing your educational journey with us we look forward to learning, exploring, and growing together.

This semester-based program (16 and 9 weeks) for the Certified Nursing Assistant certificate introduces you to the basic information and nursing skills needed to pass the state exam required for Nurse Aide Certification which enables you to work in various healthcare environments including acute care hospitals and long-term care facilities.

Within the Nursing Assistant (CNA) program there are several sub-programs to help you achieve your goals:

  • Traditional CNA 16-week program
  • Traditional CNA 9-week program
  • Acute Nursing Assistant (ACNA) 8-Week Program
  • CNA + English Language Learner 16-week program

English Language Learner Students: Visit the CNA ELL Page

Degrees and Certificates

View Classes in the Class Schedule

The Saddleback Certified Nursing Assistant program does not currently offer virtual classes. All classes are held in person. You may be assigned to a clinical day on a weekend. All skills labs and most lectures are held on campus and are held on weekdays evening.

Admission Requirements and Application Information

Prerequisites to the Nursing Assistant program:

  • Must attend an Information Session (See information session dates and registration links below)
  • Must be 16 years of age or older
  • Apply to Saddleback College to become a student (must have a student ID number to submit a CNA application)
  • Complete health requirements – More information given at the Information Session (students must show proof of personal health insurance)
  • Complete/Clear Drug screen – More information given at the Information Session
  • Complete/Clear Background check – More information given at the Information Session
  • Step 1: Apply to Saddleback College
  • Step 2: Academic Counseling
    • When you receive your Saddleback ID#, it is recommended, but not required, to speak with a counselor to ensure that your prior coursework will satisfy our prerequisites and meet the graduation requirements.
  • Step 3: Submit your CNA application
    • Find the the Nursing Assistant Program Application link in the “Application Information" section below.
    • The application must be filled out completely to be considered for admission.
    • Applications and application related communications (such as your acceptance letter) are done through the Submittable website. It is important that you know your username and password.
  • Step 4: Once provisionally accepted, the following must be met:
    • Complete Health Requirements/Program Clearance
    • Clear drug screening
    • Clear background check
    • Obtain professional liability insurance (NSO), AHA BLS card, and proof of health insurance
  • Step 5: Attend Orientation 
    • Applicants who complete all requirements will participate in an orientation which will discuss the designation of clinical locations and CNA class registration among other important topics.

Applications are not accepted via email, by mail or in-person. The Certified Nursing Assistant program receives approximately 50-130 applications each period. The program accepts between 30 to 45 students twice a year (for fall, summer and spring), and varies based on how many clinical spots we have. The program does keep an alternate list, in case students are unable to move forward. Please read below for information on submitting your CNA program application.

Fall 2024 16 weeks CNA Program

  • Application period: 5/13/24 - 6/12/24 
  • Class : 8/23/24 - 12/14/24

Fall 2024 9 weeks CNA Program

  • Application period: 7/1/24 - 8/1/24 
  • Class : 10/9/24 - 12/17/24

Applicants will be notified of their application status via Submittable by within a week after application period end.

Due to limited staffing, we will be unable to provide status inquiries during the application period. Applicants will be notified of their application status via Submittable within a week after the application period end. 


Apply for the Fall 16 Week CNA Program


NOTE: The above dates are subject to change.

View the CNA Information Session Content 

NOTE: Q&A Sessions will be conducted on the premise that prospective applicants or applicants have reviewed the Information Session information linked above. You must review the information session information and participate after understanding them.

Fall 24 16 Week CNA Program Q&A Session Dates

Reminder: You must review the information session content BEFORE attending a Q&A session

Clinical Compliance Deadlines*

  • Fall 2024 16 weeks CNA Program: 7/23/24.
  • Fall 2024 9 weeks CNA Program: 9/6/24

NOTE: These dates are subject to change.

Those invited into the program must be able to perform the duties of a CNA. The following immunizations will be required:

  • Physical Examination
  • TDAP Vaccine
  • COVID vaccine
  • Seasonal Flu Shot
  • Tuberculosis (TB) Screening. This screen is either 2 negative skin test, quantiferon gold blood draw or an x-ray.

Download the Mandatory Health Assessments and Immunity Status Requirements


Students will also be required to complete a background check, drug screening, obtain Professional Liability insurance, and possess a valid BLS/CPR card through the American Heart Association (no other providers) prior to registering for classes. These courses are reserved only for students accepted into the Nursing Assistant Program and students will not be cleared to register until all of the requirements have been completed. Failure to complete any of the programs requirements/deadlines (which are provided to students upon acceptance), will result in students signing a Non-Compliance Form. Depending on the situation, students may or may not be eligible to continue in the program after signing a Non-Compliance Form.

Fall 2024 16 weeks CNA Program: 8/15/24
Fall 2024 9 weeks CNA Program: 10/3/24

Bring money order or cashier's check for $120 for test fees to the mandatory orientation. Make check payable to The Regional Testing Center. Make sure to add your name in the memo line.

Items to bring to orientation day for fingerprinting:

  • Students will need to bring a non-expired state ID, DL or passport and original, non-laminated SS card or ITIN paperwork with same name as ID.
  • Bring money order or cashier's check for $120 for test fees to the mandatory orientation. Make sure to add your name in the memo line. Pay to "Regional Testing Center".

No late entry will be permitted for anyone who arrives 10 minutes after the start of the mandatory orientation session.

How much does the Nursing Assistant Program Cost?

NOTE: CNA courses are tuition free.

Item Cost
Nursing Program Tuition $0
Fees (Health) $26
Uniforms $50 - 100
Books $30 - 90 (new vs. used)
Supplies (blood pressure cuff/stethoscope/gait belt) $35 (as low as)
Health Requirements varies
CPR "BLS" issued by AHA $55 - 110
NSO Liability Insurance $35
Background/Drug Test/Castlebranch $132.75
NNAAP State Test $120
Total Estimated Cost $400+

NOTE: This is just an estimate. Costs may vary for each student and are subject to change.

2023-2024 Estimated Cost of Attendance

The estimated cost of attendance at Saddleback College includes an estimate for tuition and fees, books
and supplies as well as basic living expenses like food and housing, and personal and miscellaneous
expenses. Your actual expenses may be higher or lower than the amounts listed below.

Expenses Living With Parents (2 Semesters) Living Away from Parents (2 semesters)
Tuition & Fees $1,426 $1,426
Books & Supplies $938 $938
Living Expenses: Food & Housing $12,656 $22,670
Personal & Misc. $3,608 $4,428
Transportation $1,612 $1,764
Total Resident $20,240 $31,226
Total Non-Resident $32,540 $43,526
Expenses Living with Parents Living Away from Parents
Tuition & Fees $709 $709
Books & Supplies $312 $312
Living Expenses: Food & Housing $4,218 $7,557
Personal & Misc. $1,203 $1,476
Transportation $537 $588
Total Resident $6,979 $10,642
Total Non-Resident $13,129 $16,792
Expenses Living With Parents Living Away from Parents
  Summer Fall & Spring Summer Fall & Spring
Tuition & Fees $1,426 $709 $1,426 $709
Books & Supplies $938 $312 $938 $312
Transportation $1,612 $537 $1,764 $588
Total Resident $3,976 $1,558 $4,128 $1,609
Total Non-Resident $16,275 $7,708 $16,428 $7,759
  • Enrollment Fee: $46 per unit
    • Based on 15-units for Fall, Spring and Summer
  • Health Fee $26 for Fall and Spring, $22 for Summer
  • Non-Resident Tuition (in addition to the $46 per unit enrollment fee): $410 per unit ($365 non-resident tuition fee + $45 capital outlay fee)
  • Estimated cost of attendance may be adjusted for documented circumstances such as dependent care expenses, purchase of a computer, and other special circumstances (except for students enrolled less than half-time)

Optional fees

  • ASG Sticker - $10
  • Student Representation Fee - $2.00 (per semester)
  • Parking Permit Fee
  • Instructional Material Fees - as listed in the Schedule of Classes

Contact the Certified Nursing Assistant Program

Please use this contact information to email our department to avoid duplicate emails being sent to individuals.