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Will I need to take the WA State Home Care Aide (HCA) exam?

Yes, anyone who did not work as a caregiver in 2011 and was employed on or after January 7th, 2012. If you did work as a caregiver in 2011, you must be able to show proof of your employment.

What training will I need to complete to take the exam?

Before you take the exam you must have completed 75 hours of DSHS approved training.
This training includes: 2 hours of orientation and 3 hours of Safety Training which must be completed before you start working. You then have 120 days from your date of hire to complete 70 hours of Core Basic Training. You will be issued one certificate stating you have completed 75 hours training. You will need this certificate to qualify for the exam.

How do I register for the HCA exam?

You need to register for the exam though the Department of Health. The registration form can be found on the Department of Health web site at:

Dept of Health

You will need to complete the registration form and submit along with $60 to the Department of Health. This needs to be completed as soon as possible to secure a testing date. It may take four to six weeks to process the application. Remember you only have 150 days from your hire date to complete the exam. It may take several weeks for you to receive a testing date.

What else will I need to register for the exam?

You will need the OCA number from your Washington State Patrol Background check. You can get the OCA number from you supervisor or case manager who were required to complete a background check before you started working. It is possible to register for the exam without the OCA number but you must have that number before you take the actual exam.

What happens next?

Once you have registered with the Department of Health, you will be issued a “candidate number”. You will need this number for the exam. If you forget the number it will be available at:

Provider Credential Search

How do I apply for the exam?

You apply for examination directly with the examination contractor, Prometric, at the following web-site: Prometric

Mail the completed form, along with the required exam fees, a copy of your DSHS 75 hour training certificate or other required documentation to Prometric. You cannot be scheduled or seated for the exam without submitting the required documentation. You must include the DOH candidate number on the examination application. Otherwise, the application will be considered incomplete and all application materials will be returned to you.

Is there a fee for the exam?

Yes, the fee for examination is $115 for both parts (written and skills) of the examination. An oral examination is available for an extra $10.

Is the test given in other languages besides English?

Prometric currently only administers the exam in five other languages besides English. The other languages include; Russian, Korean, Vietnamese, Spanish and Simplified Chinese (written)/Cantonese (skills). The written test will be in one of these five languages and there will be an interpreter for the skills testing.

If I do not speak one of these languages, may I bring my own interpreter?

No. Prometric and the Department of Health do not allow interpreters to be present at either the written or the skills exam.

What if I fail the exam?

If you fail only one part of the examination (written/oral or skills) you will be required to retake only that portion of the examination. If you fail only one portion of the examination you will pay to retake only that portion of the examination. An application for re-examination can be submitted any time after the applicant receives notice of not passing the examination

How many times can I retake the exam?

You have three chances to pass the exam or you will need to retake the training. The examination must be successfully completed within two years from the date training was completed or the applicant must re-take the training.

How many questions are on the written exam?

There are 60 questions on the written exam. You will have 90 minutes to complete the exam. 10 questions are for statistical purposes and 50 of the questions will be on the material.

What will the skills portion of the exam include?

  1. Each skills exam consists of 5 scored skills: 3 prompted, 2 unprompted (hand washing and common care practice).
  2. Each prompted skill is grouped by an estimated level of difficulty: most, moderate, least.
  3. The 3 prompted skills represent one skill from each domain and 1 skill from each level of difficulty.

What can I do to prepare for the exam?

There are sample text questions and a Home Care Aide Skills Check list on the Prometric site at:
Skills Check List

What should I bring to the exam?

You should arrive 30 minutes before your scheduled exam appointment. This allows time for the staff to get you signed in and verify your identification. You will not be able to enter the exam if you are late.

You will need to provide all of the following items:

  1. Authorization to the Test Letter. You must present the original letter sent to you by Prometric. Copies will not be accepted.
  2. Identification. You must present two valid forms of identification before you can test. That identification must be:
    1. Government issued (e.g. driver’s license, state-issued identification card, military identification or passport) that contains:
      • Both a current photo and your signature
      • The name exactly matches the name used to apply for the examination (including “Jr.” and “III”)
    2. The second form of identification must include your name and signature. Examples include a library card, hunting license, Social Security card or credit card. Copies will not be accepted.
    3. If the signatures do not match or the picture does not resemble the person testing, the site personnel may refuse admission to the exam.

If you do not provide correct identification at the time of the exam, it is considered a missed appointment. You will be required to pay the entire exam fee in order to be scheduled for another exam.

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