Great Falls College MSU

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Campus News


Date: Tue, Aug 3rd, 2021

Great Falls College’s Lifelong Learning offering home health aide training

John Burbidge, left, and Deborah Buffaloe recently finished the certified nursing assistant class at Great Falls College MSU. Great Falls College, which has a 100 percent pass rate for its CNA class, also is starting a home health aide training.

GREAT FALLS, Mont. – Great Falls College MSU’s Lifelong Learning Center is building on its successful certified nursing assistant program by offering home health aide training for CNAs to be able to increase their earnings and continue their education.

The home health aide class is a 19-hour state of Montana-approved program to prepare for in-home care situations and will be offered every month following the CNA class. Only licensed CNAs are able to take this training, and those who complete program will have an additional endorsement from the state of Montana.

“Working in home care not only gives you a meaningful and valuable profession, it also allows you to enjoy a flexible schedule and a career in one of the fastest growing industries,” said Tammie Hickey, the director of Great Falls College’s Lifelong Learning Center and the Career and College Readiness Center.

The college was looking to help fill the labor shortage of CNAs when it started offering the CNA course this spring, and the addition of the home health endorsement is a natural evolution. Several individuals have reached out to Lifelong Learning since it started the CNA program wondering if the college’s graduated students want to work in their home assisting a family member.

In the first five months of its certified nursing assistant classes, Great Falls College MSU’s Lifelong Learning Center has a 100 percent pass rate and seven businesses in Great Falls are employing students who have completed the training.

“Great Falls College’s CNA student was wonderfully prepared for the interview process,” said Lisa McDunn, service response supervisor at Benefis Health System. “Both my manager and I were totally impressed with everything, from her appearance, her answers to some pretty tough questions, to her sweet card to thank us for interviewing her. We’d love to see Great Falls College keep up the great work over there. The instructors are doing an amazing job!”

“We are so excited with the success of the program,” Hickey said. “It is a tremendous value as it goes far beyond the scope of most CNA courses.”

The three-week CNA course at Great Falls College is available monthly and costs $850. The fee includes quality instruction for the Montana state licensure exam, healthcare CPR certification, and all testing fees and books. In addition, students receive work ethic training covering attitude, attendance, appearance, ambition, accountability, acceptance and appreciation. As a bonus, they also receive job-placement assistance that comprises career counseling, resume building, interview preparation and the opportunity to visit with various recruiters from local institutions. Job shadows also are available upon request.

The home health aide training will be available monthly following the CNA training and costs $250. It will run the last week of the month and classes will be Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 8:45 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. The first class is scheduled to start Aug. 24.

Hickey said an exciting aspect of holding these courses on the college’s campus is that students also are exposed to multiple potential career paths as Great Falls College boasts other healthcare programs in nursing, respiratory therapy, surgical technology, physical therapy assistant, dental assisting and dental hygiene, paramedic, health information coding specialist and health information technology.

“We are so proud of our healthcare pathways at the college, and we love showing them off to students,” said Hickey, adding that being a CNA is extremely helpful when applying to some of the college’s competitive programs. “It can make the difference on who is selected.”

And, of course, students can work as a CNA or HHA while continuing their studies at the college no matter what degree they are pursuing.

“This has been extremely rewarding,” Hickey said. “Watching our graduates find jobs and prosper while helping our community fill a workforce need is a testament of how education and industry can work together.”

For these and other classes, register on the Lifelong Learning website: www.gfcmsu.edu/lifelonglearning or call Tammie Hickey at 406-771-5104 with questions.

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Record Number: 753