Home Care Aide Licensing Information

To expedite your application process, we strongly encourage all applicants to complete an online application.

Apply for a Certification

Apply online

The home care aide certification application contains an attestation. This is a legal attestation. The attestation must be completed by the person applying for certification. It is not legal for this to be completed by anyone else. It may be a reportable felony offense. We may take action against people for making false statements.

For further information please see:

If you are not eligible  for benefits through the Benefits Group (Training Partnership), also known as state pay, you will need to pay the application fee. You  can make this payment using a debit card, credit card, or electronic bank withdrawal. Applicants who qualify for state pay will not be required to pay online.. Please make sure the address you enter on the payment screen matches the same address your bank has on file. The application fee is nonrefundable, and a  nonrefundable convenience fee applies to online applications. 

After reviewing your application, we may contact you with additional questions. Be sure to check for any follow-up emails, including those in your spam and junk email folder. 

You may need to submit additional forms along with your application:

If you have questions, contact our Customer Service staff at 360-236-4700.

Getting started

Online Application Instructions

Online application instructions are on our website.

Online applications are accessed through SecureAccess Washington (SAW) security portal. You'll need to add the Department of Health Online Application Portal - Healthcare Enforcement and Licensing Management System (HELMS) Portal service to access the online applications. The first time you add the service, you'll be prompted to answer several questions to verify your identity. The questions will match the name and address you provide with the existing public record information. Because the questions come from public record, you need to provide a complete address and your full legal name as it appears on your driver's license or birth certificate. You may find you have to enter a former address, especially if your address has changed recently (within the past one or two years) to get the right questions that pertain to your identity. If you don't have sufficient information in the public record to verify your identity and aren't currently credentialed by the Department of Health, then you'll need to submit a paper application, as you won't be able to access the Online Application Portal.

Once you have completed the process, and submitted your application, you will receive an email with your pending credential number, or you may look on Provider Credential Search. Refer to this credential number any time you contact Department of Health or submit paperwork.

Apply on paper

Please note: To expedite your application process, we strongly encourage all applicants to complete an online application.

All new applicants should complete the applicable documents below. Please download and print forms.

You may need to submit additional forms along with your application:

If you have limited English proficiency, and previously submitted an application without requesting a provisional certification, please complete the following:

If you hold a home care aide credential that has been expired under five years, please complete the following:

Fee Schedule

See fee information below

WAC 246-980-990 – Fees

Home care aide certification

Non-Refundable Fee Type Fee Amount
Application fee $100
Certification renewal fee $100
Late renewal penalty $50
Expired certification reactivation $30
Duplicate certification $15
Verification of certification $25

WAC 246-12-340 – Refund of fees

Fees submitted with applications for initial credentialing, examinations, renewal, and other fees associated with the licensing and regulation of the profession, are non-refundable.

Certification Requirements

See certification requirements below

Education and examination

Long-term care workers must complete 75 hours of training through a program approved by the Department of Social and Health Services, and must successfully pass the home care aide certification examination.

State license verification

Applicants must provide a list of all states where they hold or previously held credentials. This list must also include any states wherethe applicant has applied for a credential, even if it was not granted. The jurisdiction(s) where the applicant holds or held a credential must complete and submit the verification form (PDF). The completed form must be sent directly from the jurisdiction to the department.

Personal data questions

Every applicant must answer the personal data questions. If any answer is marked ‘yes’, the applicant must send an explanation. For any conviction or legal proceeding, the applicant must request copies of the original complaint and the settlement or final disposition. If a case is pending, the applicant must indicate the case status.

Background check

An applicant who is already working as a long-term care giver must have a fingerprint background check done through Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS). DSHS will provide results directly to the Department of Health.

Process for approving/denying applications

We complete a final review for approval once a credentialing specialist verifies that the application is complete and complies with requirements in chapter 18.88b RCW and chapter 246-980 WAC. We complete background checks and make sure applicants have submitted the required fees. Credentialing supervisors and leads have authority to approve routine applications. If the credentialing supervisor cannot verify that the applicant meets all requirements, the disciplining authority may conduct a further review. Applicants will be formally notified if their application is denied and may request a hearing to appeal the decision. 

Renewal requirements

Home care aides must renew their license every year. Credentials expire on the credential holder's birthday and may be renewed within 90 days of the expiration date. To renew your certification, see our License Renewals webpage.

Beginning September 1, 2023, through July 1, 2025, if your credential has been expired for more than six months but less than two years, your credential will be automatically renewed with no fee, forms to complete, or continuing education requirements.

Continuing education requirements

Each year, 12 hours of continuing education approved by the Department of Social and Health Services is required for certification renewal. The home care aide must certify that they have completed the required continuing education upon renewal. The Department of Health conducts random audits of home care aide certification. If you are selected for an audit, the department will contact you and request documentation that you completed the required continuing education. For continuing education information, see the Continuing Education DSHS webpage.

Effective January 1, 2025, individual providers who are exempt from certification may voluntarily to complete continuing education. Consumer directed employers must pay exempt individual providers for any continuing education they take, up to 12 hours annually.

RenewalsFrequently asked questions