Guide to HCA Certification for Orcas Caregivers


In November 2011, Washington State voters passed Initiative 1163, which expanded background check screening, training and certification requirements for long term care workers who work in community based settings as contracted individual providers, in licensed home care agencies and licensed adult family homes and assisted living facilities. In order to become certified, as Home Care Aides (HCA), these workers must:

  • Undergo a state background check, a Federal Bureau of Investigation fingerprint check and a National Sex Offender Registry check to determine whether they have a criminal history or other negative action that would disqualify them from having unsupervised contact with vulnerable persons. A negative action is defined as a finding by an agency, judge or a court that an individual abused, neglected, exploited or abandoned a vulnerable adult, juvenile or child.
  • Complete 75 hours of training within 120 days of being hired. Of this, the applicant must complete two hours of orientation and three hours of safety training prior to providing any care.
  • Pass a certification exam and skills test within 200 days of being hired as a long-term, home care worker.

The intent of the Initiative is to ensure long-term care workers are qualified and competent to provide services to state clients.

Initiative 1163 exempts private home care workers paid directly by the family or client, however many long term care insurance policies require a certified provider.  Also, island residents that require Medicaid paid home care under Washington State’s COPES program require the care provider to have  HCA certification.

Lahari supports caregivers who want to become certified by providing grants that pay for HCA training as well as application fees and off island expenses pertaining to obtaining HCA certification. For more information, visit:

  For Washington State HCA certification information click here.