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Prospective students of CNA training programs have several choices within the state of Massachusetts. They can find educational options at 2-year colleges and vocational schools that offer nursing assistant and home health aide certificate programs.
The curricula consist of classroom, laboratory and clinical experiences as well as practica that allow students to build hands-on skills. With many of them featuring flexible scheduling, programs could last about 15 weeks and include upwards of 100 hours of training.
Blackstone Valley Vocational Regional School District
Blackstone Valley Vocational Regional School District in Upton is a public institution that admits 8th-11th graders who live in the school district. It offers a nursing assistant program to students in grades 9-12. They study safety, nutrition, anatomy and medical terminology and take the CNA exam at the end of 11th grade. During their 12th grade year, students can work through a co-op program in an area long-term care facility while training to become certified to administer medications to patients. Students work alternating weeks and are paid for their efforts, but they must maintain their grades and have excellent attendance in order to remain in the program.
Bristol Community College
Bristol Community College offers a state-approved 130 hour nurse aide/home health aide training program at its campus in Fall River. Students must possess a high school diploma or GED certificate, pass a health screening and background check and have cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training. Students learn patient care skills through classroom lectures and practice in the school's nursing arts laboratory, then gain experience through clinical practice at area long-term care facilities.
Bunker Hill Community College
Bunker Hill Community College offers a certificate program at its Chelsea campus that qualifies graduates for the state nurse aide and home health aide exams. This program calls for 26 credits. Courses involve classroom lessons and laboratory practice; many courses are prerequisites for other healthcare programs, such as nursing and medical imaging. Students gain experience through practicums in long-term care facilities and hospitals.
Cape Cod Community College
Cape Cod Community College in West Barnstable offers a nursing assistant/home health aide program that requires six credit hours of courses, plus a one-credit course in first aid and CPR. The program is 15 weeks in length, with daytime and evening classes offered three times a week. Clinical experiences are scheduled at long-term care facilities and hospitals in the area. Students learn technical skills and also study caring behaviors.
Greater Lowell Technical School
Greater Lowell Technical School in Tyngsboro has a nurse assistant training program with classes held in the evenings two days a week. The program consists of 86 hours of classroom and lab training, along with 32 hours of clinical experiences in local nursing homes. The clinical experiences are scheduled on four weekend days. Class size is limited to the first 16 applicants who pass a reading and math assessment test.
Massachusetts Bay Community College
At Massachusetts Bay Community College's Framingham campus, students can complete the nurse assistant certificate program in eight weeks of study. Classes are held on several Friday nights and during the day each Saturday and Sunday. Clinical experiences in long-term care facilities are scheduled on Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students must be 18 or older and have a high school diploma or the equivalent to be admitted.
Middlesex Community College
Middlesex Community College offers a nursing assistant certificate program through the Academy of Health Professions at its Health, Science and Technology Center in Lowell. The program requires three eight-week sessions with classes two evenings a week, plus Saturday mornings. Clinical experiences are scheduled during the day on the final three Saturdays of the program. Students learn to care for patients in hospitals, long-term care facilities and at home. They study ethics, social needs and patient rights, in addition to patient care skills.
North Shore Community College
The certificate program for nursing assistants/home health aides at North Shore Community College in Danvers requires 100 hours of classroom work and clinical experiences. Students learn skills such as bed making, record keeping, mobility assistance and personal care. They gain practical experience during 21 hours of clinical training at area healthcare facilities. Admission requirements include a reading and math skills assessment.
Springfield Technical Community College
Located in Springfield, this school has a certificate program for nursing assistants that also includes CPR training. Classes, taught by experienced registered nurses, meet four days a week in the morning through early afternoon, with five clinical experiences to follow. The entire program takes about two months. Students must be high school graduates or the equivalent and take assessment tests in English grammar, writing and speaking.
Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School
Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School in Franklin offers a certificate program that can lead to nursing assistant certification. Students complete 29 class sessions that are offered in the evenings, two days a week. Students practice patient care skills in the school lab, then clinical experiences totaling 24 hours are held on Saturdays at area nursing homes.
In order to work in a long-term care facility, nurse aides in Massachusetts must be listed on the state Nurse Aide Registry, maintained by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. To become a listed certified nurse aide (CNA), an individual must complete a state-approved training program or have at least 75 hours of clinical training in an accredited nursing program.
Placement on the registry also requires a two-part exam. The knowledge portion of the exam consists of 60 multiple-choice questions; the skills test requires applicants to demonstrate patient care in a simulated situation. Below are brief overviews of ten state-approved nurse aide programs along with a table of facts about each Massachusetts school.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||CNA Certificates and Training Programs Offered||Program Cost (2015-16)|
|Blackstone Valley Vocational Regional School District||Less than two-year, public; large suburb||CNA Training Program||No tuition|
|Bristol Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Nurse Aide/Home Health Aide Training Program||$1,074, Massachusetts and eastern Rhode Island residents (2016-2017); $2,310, others (2016-2017)*|
|Bunker Hill Community College||Two-year public; large city||Patient Care Technician Certificate||$3,576, in-state; $8,520, out-of-state**|
|Cape Cod Community College||Two-year, public; small city||Tri-level Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide||$1,228.50, in-state; $2,670.50, out-of-state*|
|Greater Lowell Technical School||Less than two-year, public; large suburb||Nurse Assistant Training Program||$785*|
|Massachusetts Bay Community College||Two-year. public; large suburb||Nurse Assistant Training||$950 tuition only*|
|Middlesex Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Nursing Assistant Certificate||$3,348, in-state; $3,564, other New England residents; $7,056, out-of-region*|
|North Shore Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Nurse Assistant/Home Health Aide Certificate||$4,242, in-state; $4,504.50, other New England residents; $9,114, out-of-region*|
|Springfield Technical Community College||Two-year, public; midsize city||Certified Nurse Aide and CPR Certificate||$1,295 includes textbooks, exam fee, scrubs, and insurance*|
|Tri-County Regional Vocational Technical High School||Less than two-year, public; large suburb||Certified Nursing Assistant||$825 tuition only*|
Source: *Schools' websites, **NCES College Navigator.