Nursing Assistant / Home Health Aide

DEGREE TYPE: Certificate     CREDITS: 4    LOCATION: Albert Lea, Austin, Owatonna   STARTS: Fall, Spring, Summer    COURSE PLAN: 6-8 Weeks   

This course emphasizes the role of the nursing assistant and home health aide as a valuable member of any health care team. This course introduces concepts of basic human needs, acquaints students with the philosophy of home health and teaches basic nursing skills that will be demonstrated and practiced in the laboratory setting. This course will focus on personal care, nutrition/feeding, elimination, clean and safe environment, communication, vital signs, body mechanics, and principles related to long term and home health care.

    Upon successful completion of classroom/lab studies, the student will participate in a clinical experience caring for the elderly client. Background study checks will be conducted. Successful students will be eligible to take the Nurse Aide/Home Health Aide competency examination for certification and placement on the Minnesota Nursing Assistant Registry. This course meets application requirements for the Riverland Community College nursing program. (4 Cr - 2 lect, 2 lab)

    Application / Requirements


    Enrollment is limited. Students must first follow the requirements for general admission to Riverland Community College, which includes filling out the application, and later taking the placement exam called Accuplacer. Non-degree seeking students are not required to take the Accuplacer exam. 

    DROP/ADD Requirements for HCNA courses

    Because the Nursing Assistant course is a short course, we follow different drop/add requirements than full semester courses. The last day to add this course is the day before the class start date. The last day to drop this course is 1 business day after the class start date.

    Tuberculin Skin Testing (TST)
    All state-licensed or federally-certified health care settings in Minnesota are required by law to follow certain measures to prevent and control Mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) in their facilities.

    Tuberculin Skin Test (TST)
    Heath Care Worker (HCW)

    Baseline TB screening
    Baseline TB screening is required for all (HCW) and consists of three components:

    1. Assessing for current symptoms of active TB disease,
    2. Assessing TB history, and
    3. Testing for the presence of infection with by administering a TST.

    Any HCW with symptoms of active TB disease, regardless of the results of the TST, should be promptly evaluated to exclude a diagnosis of active TB disease.
    An employee may begin working with patients after a negative TB symptom screen (i.e., no symptoms
    of active TB disease) and a negative TST (i.e., first step) dated within 90 days before hire. 
    Students who will be performing health care-related activities should receive the same screening as paid HCWs. Health care facilities where students are placed should ensure that the students’ school has performed the required testing. Students who will be in the clinical setting for less than two weeks require only a one-step (not the two-step) TST.

    The TST must be administered within 90 days of the first clinical date. A negative reading must be documented and brought to class no later than the end of the second week of class. If this documentation is not on file prior to the clinical start date, the student will not be allowed to attend clinical and will receive a failing grade for the course.

    Please download the paperwork taken from the MN Department of Health’s TB Prevention and Control Program that Riverland Community College requires the NA/HHA program to use.

    Baseline TB Screening Tool for Health Care Workers (HCWs)

    Students MUST:

    1. Make an appoinment with your medical clinic or public health agency for the TST and Baseline Screening. Please take this paperwork with you to your appointment.
    2. TST results must be read between 48 – 72 hours where you had the TST administered.
    3. Bring your TST results and Baseline TB Screening (both documented and signed by your health care provider) to your NA instructor – it MUST be within 90 days of clinical start date – it cannot be >90 days or you will need to have the TST done again.
    4. If you have a positive TST reading, a chest X-ray is required to rule out infectious TB disease. The chest X-ray should be done after the date of the positive TST; however, a chest X-ray done within the three months prior to the TST is acceptable, provided that the HCW has not been exposed to infectious TB disease since the chest X-ray was done, and a medical evaluation to rule out a diagnosis of infectious TB disease.
    5. Other questions/circumstances need to be discussed with the NA/HHA program director prior to the class start date.
    Class Attendance is Mandatory

    According to the MN Dept. of Health guidelines, students must attend all class and clinical sessions, or they will not be eligible to complete the course or take the state certification exam.

    Class Information

    The books for this course will be given to students the first class day. 

    Please bring

    • Own note paper, black or blue ink pen and #2 pencils. 
    • Scrub uniforms (any color) are required to be worn to class after the first class day. 
    • Shoes need to be clean athletic shoes and clean socks. 
    • No artificial nails – nails must be short and clean.  
    State of Minnesota Background Study

    *** BRING your Driver’s License to the first day of class for Background Study submission. *** Minnesota Law requires any person who provides a service that involves direct contact with patients and residents in health care facilities licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health to have a background study conducted by the state. An individual who is disqualified from having direct patient contact as a result of a background study, and whose disqualification is not set aside by the Commissioner of Health, will not be permitted to participate in a clinical placement in a Minnesota-licensed health care facility. Failure to participate in a clinical placement required by the academic program could result in ineligibility to qualify for a certificate or degree in the program. Students may review the following link which outlines the types of disqualifying crimes and/or contact the program director.

    Background Study Requirement

    Students accepted and enrolled in an Allied Health Program must complete a Department of Human Services (DHS) background study. The background study will be initiated through the Allied Health Department at the college. Students will receive further details including the DHS privacy practices notice prior to the study being initiated.

    Download Background Study Requirement

    Employment Outlook



    In Minnesota, there are 29,320 workers employed in this very large career.

    Where do Nursing Assistants most often work?


    Certification Testing Fees

    HCNA 1200 – Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide - This 4-credit course has two separate testing fees as indicated below:

    1. The state certification testing fee of $110 payable to Riverland Community College is included in your tuition and fees.
    2. Pearson VUE is the state certification testing supply company. The state certification testing fee payable to Pearson VUE is $64 and must be paid by money order, cashier's check, or facility check. This payment is due on the certification test date. Further details will be presented by your instructor.  Financial Aid does not cover the $64 Pearson VUE certification testing fee.

    Please visit for a FREE certification examination study guide.

    1. Under "Quick Links" - select your category: Search Nurse Aide Registry
    2. Select your program: Minnesota Nurse Aides & Home Health Aides
      • Candidate Handbook - this includes the skill study guide
      • Nurse Aide (NNAAP®) Practice Exam – this is a practice test with answer key

    For questions pertaining to the Minnesota Department of Health Nursing Assistant Registry, call (800) 397-6124 in Minnesota or (651) 215-8705. For certification testing questions contact Carolyn Veldmen, Austin West Campus @ 800-247-5039 or 507-433-0653.

    Last Updated: June 9, 2016

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