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Nursing Assistant Program


JULY 2014  - The Nursing Assistant Certification Program for the Mount Vernon Campus has been placed on conditional approval by the Washington State Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission.

NA Program - Mount Vernon Campus

Paulette Carter, NA Program Director
Email Paulette

NA Program - Whidbey Island Campus

Cleo Franklin, Program Assistant

Skagit Valley College offers two campus options in the NURSING ASSISTANT program. The following information will inform you about the options, admission requirements, application process, and deadlines. If you have further questions about any of this information, please contact the appropriate campus contact provided above.

Program Options

Degrees/Certificates Credits Estimated Program Length Admission/Campus
Nursing Assistant Certificate 13 1 quarter Fall and Spring Quarters
Mount Vernon
Nursing Assistant Certificate

6 - Summer 2016
8-Beginning Fall 2016

1 quarter

All Quarters
Whidbey Island

It is the student's responsibility to discuss sequencing and work out their individual schedule with a counselor or program advisor. Any developmental or prerequisite courses a student is required to complete may add additional quarters toward program completion.

Nursing Assistant Certificate

Nursing 120(13 credits) - Mount Vernon Campus
The Nursing Assistant (N120) program prepares students for employment as Nursing Assistants in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and home healthcare agencies. Additionally, this program prepares students for continuation on into practical, registered nursing and medical assisting programs. Students will receive a certificate for American Heart Healthcare Provider CPR, bloodborne pathogen training, First Aid, disaster preparedness and the seven hour HIV/AIDS training certificate.  Exam Preparation is incorporated to help students take the nursing assistant certification in Washington State. This is a Washington State approved, one quarter course requiring 132 hours of classroom instruction and 66 hours of clinical experience. Students must attend all scheduled classes and clinical experiences to meet State certification requirements. This program is available on the Mount Vernon Campus only.

 Nursing 100 (6 credits) - Whidbey Island Campus
The Nursing Assistant program (N100) prepares students for employment as Nursing Assistants in hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, and home healthcare agencies. Additionally, this program prepares students for continuation on into practical or registered nurse programs. Graduates of the program are eligible to take the Washington State competency examination to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. This is a Washington State approved, one quarter course offered evenings, requiring 35 hours of classroom instruction and 50 hours of clinical experience. Students must attend all scheduled classes and clinical experiences to meet State certification requirements. This program is available on the Whidbey Island Campus only.

To learn more about the work life of a NA, read more…

Currently approved training programs in Washington State

I-BEST Opportunity

Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training — I-BEST classes integrate college credit courses with English language and adult basic skills instruction. The program is designed for GED (General Education Development) and ESL (English as a Second Language) students. SVC offers an I-BEST opportunity in the Nursing Assistant program. To learn more about the Nursing Assistant I-BEST program, please read this I-BEST information.

Program Learning Outcomes:

Graduates of this program will...
  • Be prepared to work under the direction of LPN's, RN's or other qualified health care workers to provide basic patient care.
  • Demonstrate basic personal care skills.
  • Provide patient centered care and perform nursing skills in a safe, competent and therapeutic manner.
  • Use communication skills effectively in order to function as a member of the nursing team.
  • Use procedures and techniques to prevent the spread of microorganisms.
  • Demonstrate the ability to identify and implement safety/emergency procedures.
  • Perform within the ethical and legal boundaries of the scope of practice.
  • Display professionalism in appearance and job performance.
  • Be eligible to take the WA State Certification Exam for Nursing Assistants.

Schedule Options

Mount Vernon Campus Schedule:

NURS 100 is offered every Fall and Spring quarters on the Mount Vernon campus. Classes are held Monday and Wednesday 1:30PM - 5:30PM and Friday 8:30AM - 5:00PM.  Several long-term care facilities are used for clinical experiences. Attendance at the first day of class is mandatory.

Whidbey Island Campus Schedule:

Two sections of NURS 100 are offered during fall, winter, and spring quarters. Classes are held on Wednesdays 12:30 PM – 3:30 PM (day class), or 5:00 PM – 8:00 PM (evening class). Campus labs are Fridays and/or Saturdays by arrangement. Clinicals are scheduled approximately during the third to seventh week of the quarter. Clinicals are held at Careage of Whidbey, a long-term care facility located in Coupeville. Clinicals and campus labs are arranged on the first day/evening of class. Clinical times and dates vary with alternating days and evening shifts, including weekends.

Admission Requirements – NA

Students seeking admission to the Nursing Assistant program must first apply for admission to Skagit Valley College. Admission to the college does not guarantee acceptance into the NA course or any other nursing program.

Applicants are admitted to the NA program on a first-come, first-served basis. No wait list is maintained.  Students must be 18 to take the state exam and receive NA certification. Students need to be aware they must attend all scheduled classes and clinical time to meet State certification requirements.

Permission is required for the Mount Vernon Campus.  If interested, please contact the Susan LaFave, Program Assistant at 360-416-7933.

Pursuant to the requirements of 1987 Washington Laws, Chapter 496, students must fill out a Washington State Patrol background check/disclosure statement. The results of the disclosure search may prevent the student from completing the Nursing Assistant course. For more information about "disqualifying crimes," please read/review the Licensing Eligibility/Disqualifying Crimes document. (link to PDF document) If you anticipate problems answering any of these questions, please consult with the Nursing program counselor/advisor.

You should also be aware that some clinical facilities are fingerprinting students for federal background checks and are randomly screening for drug usage. A criminal history may impact your ability to both attend a clinical class at selected clinical sites and receive a Washington State nursing license. If you have a criminal history it is important that you determine the impact this will have on your choice of a career.

Clinical Experience

Prior to participating in any clinical experience, students must show proof of: (details provided during first week of class):

Note: a CPR card received through an internet-based training program is not acceptable for this program.


The student uniform required for campus labs and clinicals is a unisex scrub top and white scrub pants, appropriate white shoes, a name pin/badge, and a watch with a second hand. Uniform items can be purchased through the campus bookstore.

Certification Requirements

The Nursing Assistant course is designed to comply with the Nursing Home Reform Act (OBRA 1987) and prepares candidates for the Nursing Assistant Certification in Washington. Students who successfully complete the course work and testing will receive a Certificate of Completion from DSHS and be eligible to take the NNAAP (National Nurse Aide Assessment Program) examination in Washington State. Students must be 18 to take this exam. The purpose of the examination is to make sure that you understand and can safely perform the job of an entry-level Nursing Assistant. The NNAAP examination is a measure of Nursing Assistant-related knowledge, skills, and abilities that includes testing by both a written examination and a skills evaluation. Candidates must successfully complete both components of the exam before a state can add their name to the state nurse aide registry. The WA State registry is used to assure employers that the potential hire has met the federal and state requirements for employment. Successful completion of the examination allows for both gainful employment as a CNA and meets the CNA requirement for application into SVC's PN or RN programs.

National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP)

The NNAAP is the largest nurse aide certification examination program in the United States.

Program Cost

In addition to college tuition and student fees, students are expected to purchase books, uniform, general supplies, and other medical-related small equipment items (see the list below). All costs are estimates and subject to change. The current tuition and fees schedule can be found in the college catalog or the Tuition and Fees section of the website. Hot link to Enrollment Services/tuition-fees section of website

The required program supplies and fees may vary year to year. Upon acceptance into the Nursing Assistant program, the instructor will provide students with an updated list. The following are examples of the typical expenses and approximate cost incurred:

Supplies: $200 - $250
  • Nursing textbooks
  • Uniform (scrub top, pants, shoes, & badge/pin)
  • Watch (with second hand)
  • Gate belt
Testing and Other Fees: $150 - $200
  • Washington State Certification Testing/ Fees
  • Background Check/Screening

Note: If a student is employed at a nursing home/extended care center, reimbursement for some or all of these fees may be available. Check with your employer about their reimbursement policy.


Medical facilities require immunizations for all personnel who interface with patients. For your own health and the safety of the patients/clients you encounter during your clinical experience, you may be asked to verify your immunization status for one or more of the following:

  • Negative tuberculin skin (TB) test or chest X-ray (1 every 12 months)
  • Recent diphtheria-tetnus (Tdap) vaccine
  • Positive Rubella Titer (German Measles), or measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations (MMR). Two MMR's are required for those born after 1957.
  • Hepatitis B vaccination (series of 3 immunizations)
  • Flu Vaccine
  • Varicella Vaccine (Chickenpox)

Risks and Hazards

Persons interested in a career in nursing need to be aware of potential hazards and risks inherent in the field. Nursing Assistants work in many different environments, some of which are hazardous. NA's and their clients are exposed to infectious diseases, radiation, hazardous equipment, and environments in which accidents occur. NA's may spend a lot of time walking, bending, stretching, and standing. They are vulnerable to back injuries because they must often lift and move patients. During the course of the nursing assistant program, students learn strategies to achieve the National Patient Safety Goals for minimizing safety hazards and preventing injury. NA's are not only responsible for their own safety but also for the safety of their clients. Failure to apply the principles of safety may result in serious and/or potentially life-threatening injury to the nursing assistant, the client, or other persons. Safety violations that cause actual or potential harm to clients, self or others will result in immediate dismissal from the Nursing Assistant program.

Typical Tasks

Specific tasks typically required of a nursing assistant include: performing routine tasks under the supervision of nursing and medical staff; answering patients' call bells, delivering messages, serving meals, making beds, and helping patients eat, dress and bathe; providing skin care to patients, taking temperatures, pulse, respiration and blood pressure, and helping patients get in and out of bed and walk; escorting patients to operating and examining rooms, keeping patients' rooms neat, setting up equipment, and storing and moving supplies; and observing patients' physical, mental, and emotional conditions and reporting any change to the nursing or medical staff.

Employment Opportunities

Program graduates work as nursing assistants in extended care facilities, hospitals, clinics, medical offices, and home health agencies. Others work in residential care facilities, such as halfway houses and homes for the elderly or disabled, or in private households. Employment opportunities are numerous as the health care industry continues to expand throughout the world. Employment of nursing assistants is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations in response to an emphasis on rehabilitation and the long-term care needs of a rapidly aging population. Criminal convictions may restrict or prevent student participation with internships and employment in this industry. CNA employment provides work flexibility and opportunities for personal growth.