Program Description

The Nurse Assistant program is offered during the Spring and Fall semesters for 18 weeks and the Summer semester for 9 weeks in Merced and Los Banos.

 The course provides clinical instruction and practice of basic nursing skills required of nursing assistants employed in skilled nursing facilities and extended care facilities. The course emphasizes care of the older adult client which includes assistance with the activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, exercise, movement, eating, eliminating safety measures, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and rehabilitation techniques.

 The Nurse Assistant program also provides clinical instruction. Students will practice skills in lab and then be assigned to assist clients in a skilled nursing facility. This training meets the California Department of Public Health requirements for eligibility to take the Nurse Assistant certification examination.


You must be at least 16 years old and a junior in high school in order to take this course.

 Students must adhere to clearance requirements in order to be accepted into, and continue enrollment in, Allied Health Programs' clinical courses. Requirements may include: background checks, drug screenings, vaccinations and boosters (for example, COVID-19).  Merced College Allied Health Programs do not accept religious nor medical exemptions. 


Merced College offers the following degrees/certificates in Nursing, Assistant:

  • Nursing, Assistant (CNA)

See Degree Requirements and Course Descriptions (current & past MC Catalogs)


The Allied Health Center houses two complete Nursing Skills Lab, large computer lab, conference room, study rooms and multiple large and small classrooms. The Nursing Skills Labs have state-of-the art equipment and software that assist students with learning current procedures.

Certification Examination (CNA)

Upon successful completion of the Nurse Assistant Program, the student must pass the Certification Exam in order to become a Certified Nurse Assistant. The exam has been developed to meet the evaluation requirements of the federal and state Nurse Assistant competency evaluation legislation. The test is offered throughout the state. The test may be offered at Merced college upon completion of each training course. The test consists of two parts: written and skills exam.

The training in this program meets the California Department of Public Health requirements for eligibility to take the Nurse Assistant certification examination. For more information, see the California Department of Public Health's page on licensing and certification.

 Career Opportunities

The Nurse Assistant program is a course leading to an entry level career in the health care industry. Upon completion of the program and certification, Certified Nursing Assistants can expect better than average job opportunities. Most Certified Nursing Assistants work in hospitals, clinics, assisted living facilities and skilled nursing facilities. Individuals interested in the Nurse Assistant program are encouraged to call the Allied Health Office.

By 2030, 600,000 home care workers, which includes Certified Nurse Assistants will be needed.  Read the article published by the California Future Health Workforce Commission (February 2019).

Nurse Assistant Faculty

Click (Here) for the list of Faculty & Staff.


Allied Health Counselors are located in the Counseling and Guidance Area (Lesher Student Services Building - 2nd Floor).  Contact (209) 381-6478 or email to make an appointment.


The Nurse Assistant Program is approved by the CA Department of Public Health (CDPH).