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Nursing Assistant (Certificate) Requirements

8 credit hours. View Course Requirements for Nursing Assistant Certificate.

The Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Program at Heartland Community College is a state-approved program that prepares individuals to function as nursing assistants in nursing homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities, physician offices, and private homes.

The CNA Program is an 8-credit hour program that includes 90 hours of theory and lab, and 50 hours of clinical. Upon successful completion of this program, graduates are eligible to sit for the Illinois Department of Public Health Nurse Aide Competency Examination. Graduates who pass this exam will be listed on the State of Illinois Health Care Worker Registry.

The current state exam pass rate for the Heartland Community College CNA Program is 98%.

Enrollment Requirements

All students planning to enroll in the CNA course (NURS 110) must meet the following requirements:

  • Complete the Heartland basic skill assessment in English, math and reading comprehension and place into MATH 092 or higher, ENGL 094 or higher, and READ 091 or higher.
  • Criminal Background Check
    In accordance with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), a Livescan fingerprint criminal background check must be completed and results received in order for a student to attend clinical.  Students will complete the Authorization to Conduct Background Check (PDF) form (requires Social Security number) on the first day of class and will be given a date to do fingerprinting at that time. A disqualifying conviction will prevent the student from participating in the clinical component of the course, unless an IDPH waiver has been granted (a process which can take a minimum of four weeks) before the first day of clinical. Students with questions regarding disqualifying convictions or the waiver process may contact IDPH (PDF).

Enrollment Considerations

Class Attendance

Attendance to ALL class sessions is required. Students exceeding IDPH allowances (6 hours of theory/lab and 7 hours of clinical) or certain mandated curriculum content will be dropped from the course.

CNA Class Format

NURS 110 is offered in both 16-week and accelerated 8-week formats.

Clinical experience is a required component of this course. This experience is completed in area nursing homes and occurs in the last 4 weeks in an 8-week session and the last 8 weeks in a 16-week session.

General Functional Ability

Students enrolled in the CNA course must be able to perform the CNA Functional Abilities with or without reasonable accommodations. Any potential or enrolled students are encouraged to contact Student Access and Accommodation Services to discuss any concerns associated with the course.

English as Second Language Students

Clear communication is vital to student and patient safety. Per IDPH, "a CNA must be able to speak and understand English or a language understood by a substantial percentage of a facility's residents." Please contact HCC Adult Education with any concerns related to this requirement.

Clinical Requirements

Academic Performance

CNA students must achieve an 80% or greater test average score at mid-term to continue in the course and attend clinical and must have an 80% or greater test average score at the end of the course to pass and be eligible for the state exam.

Health Requirements

A medical exam utilizing the HCC form must be completed by the date given on the course calendar in order to attend clinical. Students must also complete a TB test within 90 days of the first day of clinical, obtainable as a two-step TB test, QuantiFeron Gold, or T-spot blood test.

Course Cost

The cost sheet (PDF) provides information related to expenses incurred for this course.

Information is subject to change. Please check with an academic advisor for current course offerings and program requirements. Current students with continual enrollment may graduate under the current program requirements or any program requirements in effect since first enrollment.

Nursing Department

Visit the Nursing Department