Becoming a Certified Home Care Aide (HCA)
Steps to Get Certified
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).
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 your English skills are limited, 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.
- Be sure to check “State Pay”.
- Online application questions can be directed to DOH by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 360-236-2700.
- Check your spam folder to make sure you haven’t missed any emails from DOH.
Step 2 – Complete the LONG TERM CARE EMPLOYMENT VERIFICATION FORM.
Mail them to:
Department of Health
Home Care Aide Credentialing
PO Box 1099
Olympia, WA 98507-1099
Enroll in Basic Training
You need to complete your Basic Training requirement by the deadline. You will get an email or text with information about enrolling in Basic Training and fulfilling your training requirement.
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
Prometric will email your examination date after completing Basic Training. If you do not receive an email, check your junk and spam folders or contact Prometric at 1-800-324-4689.
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 course prepares you for your certification exam with Prometric by letting you practice any hands-on skills of your choice in a classroom with help from an instructor. Peer Mentors can help schedule a Refresher Course. Call them at 855-803-2095 or email email@example.com.
*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.
What happens if I don’t apply to the Department of Health (DOH) or if I don’t send in my application to DOH?
You should submit the Home Care Aide Certification application to Department of Health (DOH) within 14 days of being hired.
What happens if I don’t get an examination date within two weeks of completing basic training?
If you do not receive notification of an examination date within two weeks from the training completion date, you need to contact Prometric at 1-800-324-4689.
Do I need to fill out separate applications for certification and the exam?
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.