Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), sometimes also referred to as nursing aides, are individuals who deliver direct care to patients as directed by Registered Nurses (RN) and physicians. Certified nursing assistants are of paramount importance to the healthcare system. A nursing assistant's primary responsibility is to assist patients with daily tasks and to provide them with basic care. Monitoring patients' intake of medication, taking and recording vital signs and helping individuals bathe are just some of the duties that CNAs are tasked with.
The U.S. Department of Labor has stated that between the year 2014 and 2022, the number of jobs in the nursing assistant field is expected to grow by 21%. CNAs can be found working in places like transitional care facilities, long-term assisted living facilities, and hospitals.
Choosing to enter the field of nursing care can be a life-altering decision. Individuals who are sure that they want to pursue a career as a CNA should try to gather all pertinent facts about a program in order to determine whether it's the best program for them. The following is a list of questions to ask about a CNA program to determine if it's one of the best programs available.
According to the Department of Health, aspiring CNAs in Montana are expected to complete a state-approved 75-hour CNA program before they're allowed to sit for the competency evaluation. Typically, CNA programs in the state will dedicate 45 to 50 hours to classroom instruction and approximately 25 to 30 hours to clinical training.
The Montana Department of Health and Human Services has partnered up with D&S Diversified Technologies to provide testing and scoring services under the name of Headmaster to various CNA programs in the state. Individuals who successfully complete the entire training are then permitted to take the Headmaster competency evaluation. CNA candidates are given six months from the time they finish their programs to complete the competency evaluation.
The skills section of the test consists of hand washing and the demonstration of five other randomly selected skills which are integral to CNA employment. To pass this section, candidates will need at least a score of 80% for each skill. The written or oral exam is comprised of 72 multiple choice questions. In this section, students are required to score at least 75% to pass. After students have passed both sections of the Headmaster evaluation, they can then apply to have their name officially listed on the Nurse Aide Registry as CNA.
First founded in 1974, Blackfeet Community College is a 2-year college that’s located on the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains in the small town of Browning. BCC serves a group of geographically isolated people with very few options to access other postsecondary educational institutions.
BCC offers students a one-year Nursing Assistant certificate program. Students who enroll in the CNA program are required to successfully complete all of the following Vocational General Core courses prior to beginning the CNA program: Communications (6 credits), Math & Science (3 credits) and Social & Behavioral Science (3 credits). After these prerequisite courses have been successfully completed, students then begin the basic 16-credit hour Certified Nursing Assistant course. The different modules of the CNA course are as follows: Intro to CNA (2 credits), Clinical Lab (3 credits), CNA Internship (3 credits), Classroom CNA (6 credits), 1st Aid & CPR (1 credit), Medical Terminology (3 credits).
BCC’s 28-credit hour Certified Nursing Program will cost students around $3,000 plus additional fees.
Stone Child College is a small two-year public college operated by the Chippewa Cree tribe located in Box Elder, in the north central region Montana. The college was first chartered in 1984. SCC represents one of the seven tribal colleges in the state. They prioritize the importance of preserving Chippewa Cree language, history, and culture and are accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.
SCC offers students a one-semester Certified Nurse Assistant course which begins every Fall and Summer semester. The course curriculum has three parts – Cree Language (3 credits), First Aid & CPR (2 credits) and Certified Nursing Assistant Training (7 credits)—totaling 12 credits.
CNA classes are small at only 10 students each. Lectures are held each Monday through Thursday from 8:30 am until 4:00 pm.
Prospective CNA’s who are thinking about enrolling in Stony Child College’s CNA program can expect to pay an amount of $780.00 plus additional fees.
Miles Community College is a two-year community college that’s situated in the eastern region of the state, in Miles City. MCC was founded in 1939. The college boasts a student to instructor ratio of just 13:1, which is significantly lower than the state average of 20:1.
The four-credit CNA course offered by MCC prepares candidates for the Headmaster exam in only five weeks. The CNA class is open to students five times throughout Fall, Spring and Summer session. The training course is made up of a total of 75 contact hours: 45 hours of in-class instruction and discussion and 30 hours of clinical skills training.
Students coming from inside the district who wish to attend MCC’s Certified Nursing Assistant program can expect to pay $532, plus additional fees. Those coming from outside the district can expect to pay $696, plus additional fees.
Flathead Valley Community College is a two-year higher learning institution located in Kalispell, a city tucked along the Flathead National Forest in the northern region of the state. The college was founded in 1967 and is one of the three higher educational institutions the state that aren’t controlled by the Montana State University System, University of Montana System and tribal college system. FVCC’s student to teacher ratio is 21:1.
FVCC’s Nursing Assistant Course (NRSG 106) is comprised of a total of 105 contact hours. Depending on the student’s needs, NRSG 106 can be completed in a timespan ranging from four weeks to one semester. The course includes intensive classroom lectures, clinical training and instruction of various nursing skills that are required for the management of chronically-ill patients. The course places a special emphasis on topics like basic human anatomy and physiology, human aging and medical terminology. NRSG 106 has been approved by the Montana Department of Health and Human Services.
In-district students attending FVCC’s CNA program will be required to an amount of $840, plus additional fees. Students coming from outside of the district, but still inside of Montana, will be required to pay $1,085, plus additional fees. Students coming from out-of-state will need to pay $2,115, plus additional fees.