The following is a press release provided by Santa Monica Community College.
The National Council for Continuing Education and Training (NCCET)—a national organization that provides professional development to those working in continuing education, and spotlights programs that are models for other community colleges—has recognized Santa Monica College’s (SMC) noncredit Certified Nursing Assistant & Home Health Aide Certificate programs as one of seven 2022 Exemplary Program awardees. The announcement was made at the conclusion of the annual NCCET conference held in Nashville, TN from March 1 – 3, 2023.
The Certified Nursing Assistant and Home Health Aide noncredit certificates—which have no tuition fees associated—are among 19-plus short-term, career competency-driven programs offered at Santa Monica College.
“Congratulations to the faculty and staff of these programs, and Associate Dean of Health Sciences (Interim) Dr. Eric J. Williams for creating these much-needed certificates for Santa Monica College students and for California!” said SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery. “Additionally, thank you, SMC trustee Dr. Sion Roy who pointed out the critical need for certified nursing assistants. This is a great example of collaboration!”
Jeffery went on to note that out of the first cohort to finish this past fall semester, 14 out of 20 students are already employed. “This latest recognition is an affirmation of how SMC is fulfilling the community college mission of meeting local workforce needs and creating life-changing opportunities for our students and their families!” she added.
The Certified Nurse Assistant program takes 180 hours to complete and teaches students the knowledge, skills and abilities essential to work as an entry-level nurse assistant caring for patients in hospitals, assisted living and long-term care settings; upon completing the certificate, students are eligible to take the California Nurse Assistant Competency exam to become a Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA).
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor, there are fewer than 100,000 CNAs in California, a state with six million senior citizens. The Home Health Aide certificate, meanwhile, takes 54 hours to complete and prepares students for careers as an entry-level home health aide administering in-home health and hospice care and services, focusing on essential aspects of patient care, such as the medical and social needs of those served in a non-clinical setting.
SMC’s Interim Dean for Noncredit & External Programs Dr. Scott Silverman said that one of the best design elements of these two linked noncredit certificates—students often take both, in order to expand their skills set in this crucial vocational field—is how compressed the schedules are. “Eight weeks of total instruction, for both certificates,” Silverman points out, “and the student can get certified, then out into the workforce. In addition, if these students later apply to our credit nursing program, the fact that they will have earned CNA and HHA certificates will help them in their application towards that program, which leads them to positions with even higher salaries.”
Silverman further stated that the program—offered for the first time in 2022—has already doubled to accommodate two cohorts, and that by Fall 2023 they will likely be scaled up to three simultaneous cohorts. Students fulfill clinical hours at various facilities in the community including Mary Crest Manor, Brentwood Health Care Center, and Santa Monica Rehabilitation Center.
Iris Carillo, part of the first cohort of students in the Certified Nursing Assistant noncredit certificate, said that enrolling at SMC saved her both time and money. “Some other CNA programs I looked at take a year or half a year,” she said. “I didn’t have that much time . . . [or] thousands of dollars on top of the nursing school tuition I [would] have to pay.” Carillo stated that the CNA training allowed her to “be a shadow and watch how nurses operate . . . to see what works for them and what works for me.”
Alongside SMC, the following noncredit programs were also recognized as 2022 Exemplary Program awardees:
- Acute Care Technician, Lone Star College, Texas
- Integrated Education and Training, Miami Dade College, Florida
- Innovation Through Collaboration, Tallahassee Community College, Florida
- Nashville State Healthcare Workforce Solution Partnership at VUMC (Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville State Community College, Tennessee
- Oyster Aquaculture Training, Tallahassee Community College, Florida
- Licensed Practical Nurse Pathway, Community College of Vermont & Vermont Technical College
In addition to these two noncredit certificates, Santa Monica College has also launched a noncredit Working with Older Adults certificate and offers for-credit Associate degrees in Nursing, and Respiratory Therapy.
For more information on all of Santa Monica College’s noncredit programs and classes—options range from computer science and business, to sustainability career-driven certificates, and much more—visit smc.edu/noncredit. To learn more about NCCET and its mission, visit NCCET.org.