Jump over the site's primary content.

Nursing Assistant Certificate

What Will I Learn?

The Nursing Assistant Certificate at Heartland Community College prepares individuals to function as nursing assistants in nursing homes, hospitals and private homes. Instruction focuses on basic nursing knowledge and skills required to care for individuals in a manner that respects their dignity. Students will learn a variety of skills, which require fine-motor coordination. Students must also be physically able to lift and transfer patients safely and correctly.  Students must be able to lift at least 50 pounds.

Students are required to successfully complete fifty (50) hours of direct patient care under the supervision and guidance of a nursing faculty member. Clinicals are held in local long-term care facilities. Students must adhere to standards and policies of the facility, the college, and the Illinois Department of Public Health.

Students are required to take a manual skills competency test during the course, in which the student demonstrates competence in the required skills. Students who successfully complete the course will be eligible to take the written competency test.

What Is The Occupational Outlook?

The certified nursing assistant (CNA) provides basic care for patients in hospitals, long-term care centers, and in private homes. They also work in doctors' offices, public health departments, and governmental agencies. The CNA assists patients with bathing, dressing, eating, and many other daily functions. They also perform medical procedures such as catheter care, specimen collection, vital signs, height and weight measurement, and range of motion exercises. CNAs are responsible for making basic observations about patients that involve all body systems and the patient's response to treatment.

The employment outlook in this area is favorable.

NOTE: Career descriptions are based on information found in Illinois Career Services Information Systems (2010).

What Are My Options?

A student may be placed on the Illinois Department of Public Health Healthcare Worker Registry after he/she meets the following criteria are met:

  • Must obtain a Livescan fingerprint background check and have no disqualifying convictions or must be granted a waiver from IDPH.  The Livescan fingerprint will be initiated during the second week of class.
  • Successfully complete the Nursing Assistant course;
  • Successfully complete the manual/written competency tests;

The nursing assistant program meets federal and state guidelines for nursing assistant training, and students who successfully complete this course will be eligible to take the competency evaluation required for nursing assistants.

Nursing assistant students may choose to enroll in day or evening classes in either an 8-week or 16-week course format.

Other Considerations...

Students should be able to read and write at the college level. Basic math skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division are required.  Students who speak English as a second language may wish to contact Adult Education regarding the ESL Bridge to Health Careers program prior to enrollment in NURS 110.

Heartland Community College offers services for students with documented sensory, physical, learning, or other disabilities.  If you believe you are eligible to receive accommodations due to a documented disability, please contact Disability Support Services located in the Academic Support Center in Room SCB 1411 of the Student Commons Building.

Uniform purchase is required, and certain health standards must be met prior to attending clinical.  For other questions about the nursing assistant certificate please see the frequently asked questions page.

Working as a CNA (Certified Nursing Assistant) is physically demanding. CNAs are required to lift patients, assist a patient that is falling, and carry heavy medical equipment. A CNA should have the physical dexterity to perform skills that require fine motor movement. Basic observations are made by the CNA; therefore, they should possess the senses of sight, hearing, smell, and touch. Students in the CNA course must meet the physical requirements set forth in Heartland Community College's Nursing Program. The student's health must enable him/her to fulfill the requirements and outcomes of the nursing program. The Heartland Community College Nursing Program follows the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, Inc. recommendations for functional abilities for nurses.

All students will be required to complete a Livescan fingerprint background check through a vendor designated by the college.  For a list of disqualifying criminal offenses, please click here.