What is the Nursing Assistant course?

The program consists of lecture courses and labs offered in the evenings on campus, and clinical experiences at long-term care facilities on the weekends.

The schedule varies from quarter to quarter, depending upon the availability of the lab and clinical instructors. Click here to see a sample schedule. Students successfully completing the program will be eligible to take the state certification exam, to perform bedside care as an NAC. If the class schedule does not work for you, there are other local providers offering the course. Visit the Washington State Department of Health website for more information.

The Nursing Assistant Certification is a requirement for application to the RN Nursing Program at WCC.

What are the prerequisites?

There are no prerequisites for the NAC course, however English 92 and 95 are recommended preparation since there is significant reading required.

What are the application requirements?

Admission to the Nursing Assistant program is on a first-come, first-served basis once complete application materials are received at WCC. Classes fill quickly, so submitting your application materials to WCC on or before the deadline is important. The application deadlines for upcoming program start dates are:

  • Spring 2015: March 12, 2015
  • Summer 2015: June 4, 2015

Late applications will be considered only if there is space available. You must complete the following steps by the Nursing Assistant application deadline to be considered for program acceptance:

STEP 1: Apply to Whatcom Community College.
Students must be enrolled at WCC and have an active Student Identification (SID) number in order to apply for the Nursing Assistant program and pay related fees.

  • New Students:
    • Apply to WCC online
    • Unable to apply online?
      • Request a WCC application by email at admit@whatcom.ctc.edu, by phone (360) 383-3001, or in person at the Entry & Advising Center, LDC 116.
    • Get your SID number. Once your completed WCC application has been received you will be sent a SID number via email within two to three days.
    • Once you receive your SID number, proceed to STEP 2.
  • Returning Students: Contact the Registration Office to reactivate your student account and SID, then proceed to STEP 2.
  • Current Students: Proceed to STEP 2 and use your active SID.

STEP 2: Obtain and complete Nursing Assistant application forms.
To obtain Nursing Assistant application forms:

STEP 3: Pay application fee and submit all supporting application materials.
Students must pay the application fee and submit application forms, with all supporting materials, on or before the application deadline to be considered for the Nursing Assistant program:

  • Pay application fee. Students may pay the Nursing Assistant application fee ($25) in one of two ways:
    • Go in person to the WCC Cashier's window and pay the application fee with cash, check or credit card. You must have your SID number and identify the program for which you are applying. It is suggested that you complete the Application Fee Payment Form and turn it in with your payment
    • Mail a check along with the Application Fee Payment Form directly to the WCC Business Office.
    • Note: The application fee is non-refundable. If you are not admitted to this program with your initial application, there will be no refund of the fee. If you reapply to this program within one year, you will not need to pay the fee again.
  • Submit Nursing Assistant Application Form and all supporting materials.
    • Submit the completed Nursing Assistant Application form and all required supporting documents in one complete packet to WCC's Registration/ Records Office in person or by mail. Your packet should include:
      • Receipt ($10) from WCC's Business Office for a Washington State Patrol Background Check (see below for more information).
      • TB test results (TB tests can be done at walk-in clinics, any physician's office, or Whatcom Occupational Health [(360) 676-1693].).

TB Test Guidelines:
Applicants need a two-step PPD test performed 1-3 weeks apart. Two negative test results are required to be considered negative. If any PPDs are positive, a chest x-ray with written results and physician's statement of no symptoms of TB is required. Tuberculin skin test must be repeated every 12 months, unless a test has shown 10 or more mm of induration. Tine test is NOT acceptable. If the PPD expires during time in a clinical facility, the student must update the test prior to the beginning of the quarter in which it expires.

All materials, whether delivered in person or by mail, must be received at the WCC Registration/Records Office by the deadline to be considered for the Nursing Assistant program. Incomplete files will not be considered. Late applications will be considered only if there is space available.

What other expenses should I plan for?

In addition to tuition and application fees mentioned above, there are additional fees and few supplies you will need to purchase or acquire for this program. Please click here for a summary of these items and their estimated costs, including the cost of in-state tuition. Costs may vary depending on whether items are purchased new or used. Students in the online/hybrid program will need to have access to a computer.

Will Whatcom maintain a wait list?

A Nursing Assistant class wait list is not maintained, however your application paperwork will be kept on file for six months in case you wish to reapply. If you reapply to the program more than six months after your previous application, you will need to undergo another background check and file new application paperwork. Also, if your TB test is more than a year old, you will need to resubmit new results. Contact Nursing Program Support for further information, 360-383-3215.

Background checks

Acceptance into the Nursing Assistant programs requires a Washington State Patrol background check to support clinical placements. Students need to pay a $10 fee to the WCC Business Office to start the process and submit the receipt with their application. Results of the background check will be provided to the Nursing Assistant Program Coordinator and all findings will remain confidential to WCC Administration. Those students with a negative finding will be required to meet with the Program Coordinator prior to admittance to discuss possible options. Background check results for program applicants are considered valid for 6 months.

I-BEST nursing assistant class

I-BEST stands for Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training. An I-BEST program or class is one that takes students who are working on their basic educational skills (English and math) and places them in a technical training program at the same time. What the student experiences is two teachers in the classroom, and an extra support class to help them truly understand the classroom information.

Students must have Comprehensive Adult Student Assessment System (CASAS) test scores in a certain range to qualify for the I-BEST course. The CASAS test can be taken on Whatcom's campus. Call the Office of Transitional Learning at (360) 383-3060 for more information.

If you think you are interested in the I-BEST program or would like more information, please email your questions to advise@whatcom.ctc.edu.

Age-related considerations

Students under the age of 18 may enroll in NURS 100 - Nursing Assistant. In order to work as a Nursing Assistant - Certified (NAC), students must be at least 16 years of age. NAC's under the age of 17 will be restricted to working in certain environments for limited hours, especially when also attending school. These students may also have difficulty finding local employment. Historically, facilities which employ NAC's strongly prefer hiring people age 18 and over, due to these limitations on duties and work hours. Also, hospitals have been especially unlikely to hire anyone under 18 as an NAC.