Leaving high school with a diploma is great, but departing with a state-approved certificate to jump start a career in healthcare is even better! Learn4Life has partnered with Dalrada Career Institute to offer its students an intense, month-long program to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA).

The program runs for eight hours a day, starting with two weeks of classroom learning and then practical clinical experience with an externship at a licensed care facility. To be certified, students must pass a comprehensive state exam. So far this school year, 24 of our students have earned their certificates.

“It’s a rigorous program where clinical feels like an actual workday as a nurse assistant,” said Jamilyn Lopez, CTE coordinator for health science/medical technology pathways. “There is such a need in healthcare that these students will have no trouble getting jobs and earning $20-30 per hour…some even with signing bonuses.”

Student Nadiel N. just earned her certificate and recalls the days spent at a senior living facility while she was in the program. “All the residents would ask for our help, and we would give them lots of attention,” she said. “On our last day, many of the residents cried because we left. That was very heartwarming.”

For many, Lopez said, this is the first step in the career ladder of becoming a licensed vocational nurse (LVN), medical assistant, Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) or even a registered nurse. A CNA provides patients compassion and patience while assisting them with day-to-day life tasks such as dressing, bathing and eating.

“Because our high school has a flexible schedule, our students are able to join this career pathway while still in school and earning their diploma,” said Lopez. “With a traditional high school schedule, the student would need to enroll during the summer break and pay for it themselves. We cover all the costs for our students.”

Lopez points out that it is gratifying to see the change in the students going through the program. They gain confidence in their skills and truly enjoy working with patients.

“Nothing makes you feel better about yourself than helping someone else,” added Nadiel.

February is Career Technical Education (CTE) Month. Find out more about our other CTE pathways.

Written By:
Ann Abajian
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