Program Description

The Nurse Assistant program is offered during the spring and fall semesters for 18 weeks and the summer semester for nine weeks in Merced and Los Banos. The course provides basic skills required of the nurse assistant employed in skilled nursing facilities. The course emphasizes care of the older adult client and assistance with the activities of daily living: bathing, dressing, exercise, movement, eating, eliminating, safety measures, 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. 


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

  • Nursing, Assistant (CNA)

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

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.

American Red Cross provides helpful resource links to prepare for the Certification Examination.  Click on links below.

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).