Home Care Aide Licensing Information

Renewals | New exam and application information | Frequently asked questions

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 aren't eligible for the DSHS benefit, also known as state pay, you'll need to pay the application and examination fees. You may use a debit card, credit card, or electronic bank withdrawal. Applicants eligible for state pay won't be asked to pay online. Please make sure your address on the payment screen matches the address your bank has for you. This fee is not refundable. There is a convenience fee to apply online.

After reviewing your application, we may contact you with additional questions. Check for any follow-up emails, including checking your spam and junk mail folder.

You may need additional forms, in addition to 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

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

You may also need to complete the following PDF forms:

If you have limited English proficiency, and you previously submitted an application but did not request a provisional certification on your original application, please complete the following:

If you hold a home care aide credential that has been expired under three 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 list all states where they do or did hold credentials. This list must also include when the applicant has applied for a credential, even if a credential was not granted. The jurisdiction where the applicant is or was credentialed must complete and submit the verification form (PDF). The jurisdiction must send the completed form directly to the department.

Personal data questions

Each applicant must answer the personal data questions. If there is a positive answer, the applicant must send an explanation, and for any conviction or legal proceeding, must also include copies of the original complaint, and the settlement or final disposition. If a case is pending, applicant must indicate 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 finish final review for approval after a credentialing specialist verifies that the application is fully 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 required fees. Credentialing supervisors and lead workers have the authority to approve routine applications. The disciplining authority may conduct further review if the credentialing supervisor can't verify the applicant meets all requirements. We'll formally notify applicants of a denial. Those applicants 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 CE requirements. These renewals will take place between September 8 and September 15. 

Continuing education requirements

Twelve hours of continuing education approved by the Department of Social and Health Services is due each year with renewal of the certification. The home care aide must certify that he or she has completed the required continuing education with their renewal. The Department of Health randomly audits home care aides. If you are chosen for the continuing education audit, the department will contact you and request documentation that you completed the required continuing education during the required timeframe. For continuing education information, see the Continuing Education DSHS webpage.