Nursing Assistant

Table of Contents

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Information Sessions Program Costs
Eligibility Criteria Health Screening

We are pleased that you are interested in the Nurse Assistant program at College of the Desert (COD). The program is approved by the California Department of Public Health. The links at the botto​m of the page include questions students most frequently ask and information that will provide answers for students.

If you still have questions after reading through the materials below please feel free to contact either the Health Sciences/Nursing Office at (760) 773-2579 or

Additionally, you can contact the Nursing counselor at 760-776-7415 or via email  at

The Nurse Assistant course (Health Sciences 064) is offered every semester and currently has no separate application process for entry. Register as you would for any other class offered at COD. This is a 6-unit course and costs the same per unit as any other COD course. It is a 12-week course.

Group information sessions are offered periodically throughout the year which provides an overview of all COD nursing programs (CNA, LVN, RN, & LVN-RN), pre-requisite courses, admissions process, application, cost, etc.​​​​​​ and a "question and answer" time.

Session availability is contingent upon nursing advisor availability.

Come and Find Out....

  • What prerequisite courses are needed
  • How to apply
  • Program particulars
  • Job particulars
  • Bring your questions!

Zoom Link for all sessions listed below

  • Thursday, August 5th, 9:00am-11:00am
  • Monday, August 9th, 6:00 pm-8:00pm
  • Wednesday, August 18th, 6:00pm-8:00pm
  • Tuesday, September 7th, 4:00pm-6:00pm
  • Thursday, September 16th, 6:00pm-8:00pm
  • Monday, October 11th, 5:00 pm-7:00pm
  • Tuesday, November 9th, 3:00pm-5:00pm
  • Friday, December 3rd, 9:00 am-11:00am

For more information, please email

To view a pre-recorded information session, click here.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Graduated from high school, or
  • Passed the CA high school proficiency exam, or
  • Passed the GED, or
  • Are 18 or older and can benefit from instruction

Program Requirements

In addition to eligibility requirements, once a student is registered, further items are required to begin courses and clinical rotations.

  • Valid Social security card
  • Physical Exam
  • Valid Government issued ID
  • Malpractice Insurance
  • Clear drug screen
  • Meet core Performance Standards 
  • Clear background check & DOJ Livescan 
  • Communicable disease clearance (titers & Vaccinations)
  • Current American Heart Association CPR card

Program Costs

Please note the costs are estimated. Depending on insurance coverage and financial assistance, costs may vary. Total cost of program is estimated at $654. Click here for a detailed list of associated costs.


General Aide and Technician Certification Information
California Nurse Assistant Candidate Handbook and testing information

The affiliation agreements with the clinical facilities, regulated by The Joint Commission (TJC), require that all students have a clear drug screening and background check prior to each clinical rotation. If not, the student may not be allowed to participate in patient care at a clinical agency, which would prevent the student from completing the nursing assistant course.

Drug Screening and Background Checks

Background checks displaying discrepancies will be reviewed by the Nursing Director and facility assigned to determine if you are eligible to continue within the program.

In addition to screening prior to the first class meeting, students may be subject to testing for cause; such as slurred speech, impaired physical coordination, inappropriate behavior, or pupillary changes.

All students must also be medically screened, prior to the first day of class. The screening will include a physical examination, TB testing, flu shot, blood tests (titers) which show definitive immunity to communicable disease, and drug and alcohol screening.

Students who do not clear the screenings will be unable to complete the course. 

Students are responsible for all associated fees.

Student Requirements

All requirements must be completed before the first class meeting, including late add and students "crashing" the course. 

  • The LiveScan will be done during the first class meeting for registered students. 

  • Students must come to the first class meeting with a valid government issued ID.

  • A current BLS card issued by the American Heart Association must be brought to the first class meeting.

  • A basic physical exam with proof of recent 2-step TB test, and flu shot must be done within 90 days prior to the first class meeting

  • Background check and drug screening must be completed within 30 days before the first class meeting. 

No students will be added to the course after the first class meeting.

Medical Clearance form for Nursing Assistant Students

Background Check and Drug Screen Instructions

Students with qualifying hours in the RN or LVN programs are eligible to undergo examination for the Nursing Assistant certification.

Use the following links to pursue this option:

Mailing Address:

CA Dept. of Public Health
P.O. Box 997416, MS 3301
Sacramento, CA 95899-7377​