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Nursing Assistant Certificate

Susan LaFave, NA Program Director, Mount Vernon Campus
360.416.7933 |

Certificate Credits Estimated Program Length Location
Nursing Assistant Certificate (NURS 100) 8 1 Quarter Whidbey Island Campus Every Quarter, Mount Vernon Campus Spring Quarter

To learn more about the work of an NA, read more...

I-BEST Opportunity

Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training — I-BEST classes integrate college credits 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 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 LPNs, RNs, 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 micro-organisms.
  • 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.

Admission Requirements - Nursing Assistant

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 may be required prior to enrollment.

To register for permission only courses, Contact:

Susan LaFave, Program Assistant
360.416.7933 |

Pursuant to the requirements for 1987 Washington Laws, Chapter 496, students must fill out a Department of Social and Health Services 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 Eligibilty/Disqualifying Crimes document. If you anticipate problems answering any of these questions, please consult with the Nursing Program counselor/advisor.

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 accepted for this program.


The student uniform required for campus labs and clinicals is a maroon unisex scrub to and scrub pants, appropriate white shoes and a watch with a second hand. Uniform items can be purchased through the campus bookstore. Students will receive their photo ID badges the first week of classes.s

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 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 requirement for employment. Successful completion of the examination allows for both gainful employment as a CNA and meets the CNA requirements for application into SVC's RN program.

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.

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 and shoes)
  • Watch (with second hand)
  • Gait belt
  • Testing and Other Fees: $150 - $200
  • Washington State Certification Testing Fees
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 tetanus-diphtheria-pertussis (Tdap) vaccine (current within last 10 years)
  • Two doses of measles, mumps and rubella vaccination (MMR) or proof of positive antibody titers.
  • Three doses of Hepatitis B vaccination (HepB) or proof of positive antibody titers.
  • Flu Vaccine (yearly)
  • Two doses of Varicella (Chickenpox) Vaccine or proof of positive antibody titers.

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. NAs and their clients are exposed to infectious diseases, radiation, hazardous equipment, and environments in which accidents occur. NAs may spend a lot 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. NAs 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.