Considering the intention of the Unified Health System in undertaking a permanent evaluation of its resolvability and the decision of the Federal Council of Nurses (FCN) in qualifying non-skilled assistants within a 10-year period, this study sought to determine the quantitative obstacles for this professional qualification. We investigated the means for assistant nurses formation using data derived from all assistant nurses registered at FCN, up to December 1988. We also collected the total number of non-skilled nursing-assistants with permission to practice and the number of courses available to assistant nurses and technicians in each Brazilian state. We concluded that in order to overcome the professional disqualification of this health labor force, it is necessary both political will and integrated participation of Ministries and Institutions, among other measures. The time required for achieving this objective based on the current courses offers is 10 years in 60% of the Brazilian states, where the maximum and minimum limits correspond to 67 years in the state of Alagoas and 3 years in the state of Piauí.