Becoming a Certified Home Care Aide (HCA)

Steps to Get Certified

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Congratulations on beginning your career as a caregiver!

Before you can begin your training or working as a paid caregiver, you will need to complete Orientation & Safety (O&S).

Learn more about how to complete O&S. 

The process of applying for and gaining certification is administered by Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and Prometric, the testing administrator.  

SEIU 775 Benefits Group provides you with your training. Any questions about your application and testing should be directed to DOH or Prometric.

Are you in Vancouver, Washington? Learn how you can take your exam where you took Basic Training!


Submit DOH Certification Application — Days 1–14

To become certified as a Home Care Aide, you need to complete and submit your Home Care Aide (HCA) Certification Application (also called the “DOH Application”) within 14 days of being hired. This application can be submitted before the training begins.

You are NOT required to pay the application fee. As part of your benefits with SEIU 775, the application and first-time testing fees are covered.

If English is not your preferred language, you may be allowed up to 60 extra days to become a certified HCA. To apply for provisional certification, you must check the “I am applying for a provisional certificate” box on Page 1 of the HCA Certification Application.

You can submit your application online, or by mail.


Watch this 3-minute YouTube Video from the Department of Health (DOH). It will guide you through logging on, verifying your identity, and filling out the application online. Things to know before you apply online:
  • Be sure to check “State Pay”.
  • Online application questions can be directed to DOH by email at or by phone at 360-236-2700.
  • Check your spam folder to make sure you haven’t missed any emails from DOH.


Step 1 – Complete the DOH APPLICATION (NOTE: no payment is required).

Mail them to:
Department of Health
Home Care Aide Credentialing
PO Box 1099
Olympia, WA 98507-1099

Enroll in Basic Training

Individual Providers

You need to complete Basic Training by the deadline. You will get an email or text with information about enrolling in Basic Training and fulfilling your training requirement.

Agency Providers 

Check with your employer on the best way to enroll.

Complete Basic Training — Days 30-60

Take your training as soon as possible to ensure best access to classes in your area and your preferred language.

Prepare for Your Exam — Days 60–90

If you are taking your exam in English, you can schedule your Knowledge and Skills exams on Prometric’s website. You can schedule the exam as soon as you have enrolled in Basic Training 70 and have the dates for your classes. You must complete your training before your exam date.  

If you have questions, please contact Prometric at 1-800-324-4689. 


  • When scheduling the exam, you will need to schedule the Knowledge and Skills exam separately.  
  • There is a rescheduling fee that is not covered through your certification benefits. Please check Prometric’s website for more information. 
  • If you would like to schedule a non-English exam or need ADA accommodations, call Prometric’s Testing Accommodations Team at 1-800-967-1139.

How to Prepare:

  • Review Prometric’s Exam Preparation Materials, available in 13 languages.
  • Connect with a Peer Mentor.
    • Peer mentors are certified Home Care Aides who help new caregivers like you become certified. Visit the Peer Mentor page to learn more about the free tutoring resources they provide.
  • Schedule a free* Refresher Course.
    • This 2 hour, in-person session allows you to practice any hands-on skills of your choice in a classroom. Call the Member Resource Center (MRC) at 1-866 371-3200 or email to schedule your course.
*Refresher courses are not required and you do not get paid to attend.

Take Exam — Days 90–120

On the day of your exam:

  • Arrive at least 30 minutes before your scheduled exam. Late arrivals will not be allowed to take the exam and will need to pay the exam fee for the rescheduled date.
  • Bring your “Admission to Test” (ATT) letter and 2 valid forms of identification.

Maintaining Your Certification

Your results are reported to DOH, and they will send you a letter confirming you are officially certified.

After becoming a certified HCA, you will need to complete 12 hours of Continuing Education (CE) every year by your training deadline, which is usually your birthday. Go to the Caregiver Learning Center to confirm the date.

Get Help

Peer Mentors 

Peer Mentors are experienced caregivers that can give you free tutoring support as you complete Basic Training. Connect with a Peer Mentor to: 

  • Understand what to expect before, during and after Basic Training. 
  • Get help with what you are learning in training. 
  • Refresh your hands-on skills. 
  • Build your confidence in your caregiving skills and knowledge. 

To contact a Peer Mentor, call 855-803-2095 or email 

Learn more about how Peer Mentors can support you.

Department of Health (DOH)

The DOH can help you with application and certification questions as you work towards becoming a certified Home Care Aide (HCA).

  • For questions about the HCA application and certification process, email or call 360-236-2700.


If you have questions about your Home Care Aide exam, call Prometric 1-800-324-4689 or email

Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)

DSHS Long-Term Care Workforce Navigators can help you complete the process of becoming a paid and certified HCA.

Take your HCA Exam in the Vancouver Classroom

If you live near Vancouver, Washington, you can take your Skills and Knowledge exams at the SEIU 775 Benefits Group classroom.

Use the testing code WAIFTSBG. If you have already completed your application and would like to change to this location, call Prometric at 1-800-324-4689.


You should submit the Home Care Aide Certification application to Department of Health (DOH) within 14 days of being hired.

If you are taking your exam in English, you can schedule your Knowledge and Skills exams on Prometric’s website. Please contact them for more information at 1-800-324-4689.

If you need to schedule your exam in a language other than English or need ADA accommodations, please call Prometric’s Testing Accommodations at 1-800-967-1139.

No. Prior to May 1, 2016, you did need to fill out an application to DOH for certification and also to Prometric for the exam. However, as of May 1, 2016, those applications have been combined.

Completed applications are now submitted to DOH. Prometric will continue to administer the exam. Once an applicant meets all requirements to take exam, DOH notifies Prometric to schedule the exam.

Note that Prometric will not schedule a certification exam without an email address. Applicants must check their email regularly, including junk and spam folders, for communication from DOH and/or Prometric. Applicants without an email address must list the email address for someone who will frequently check their email and pass on information to them.

If you have any questions, contact the Department of Health at (360) 236-2700.