Note: CNA1 is not currently accepting applicants. Sign up using the form titled "Learn More" found on the right side of this page to be notified when registration opens once again. Visit to review current entry-level opportunities. 

Are you looking for a stable, in-demand, entry-level job in the healthcare industry?

Are you searching for a healthcare position that you can use to springboard into a career as a CNA 2, registered nurse, licensed practical nurse, or physician’s assistant?

Do you want a job that will involve caring for and listening to others, often in vulnerable stages of life?

Learn the skills you need to provide patient care in a variety of health care settings, where you will work as an essential member of the nursing team.

With the baby boomer population aging, the importance of nursing’s role in the healthcare environment is increasing, and the need for nursing assistants — those who assist nurses in caring for clients — is expected to increase dramatically. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that between 2012 and 2022, the number of nursing assistant jobs will increase by over 20%, creating over 300,000 new jobs.

The Institute for Health Professionals’ Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA 1) training program will teach you the skills you need to become certified in this fast-growing field.

Once students complete the program, they will be eligible to take the state board exam, which grants them certification and the ability to work as a CNA 1 in the state of Oregon.

What to Expect

Approved by the Oregon State Board of Nursing, the Institute for Health Professionals’ CNA 1 training program teaches hands-on skills that students will use every day to provide patients with exceptional health care. After practicing these skills in a lecture and lab setting, you will put them to use in the real world during a clinical practicum at one of several Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) in the Portland area.

Part I:  Lecture & Lab, 80.5 h

  • Learn about the principles of health care, various diseases and body systems
  • Work with other students to practice skills like taking vital signs, dressing and undressing clients, and assisting with feeding

Part II:  Clinical, 75 hours

After successful completion of the lecture and lab portion, you will move on to a clinical rotation.

  • Put your skills to work during 75 hours of real-world experience
  • Interact with patients and health care workers, and view the healthcare industry from the front lines
  • Portland Community College will place students in a clinical rotation; students will not need to arrange their own clinical internship.

After completing the program, you will be prepared to pass the Oregon State Board of Nursing exam, which allows you to work as a CNA 1 in the state of Oregon.

Upon successful completion of the program, students will be able to:

  • Pass the state board exam, which grants licensure as a Certified Nursing Assistant.
  • Apply a working knowledge of a variety of human body systems, including the circulatory system, respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system, and more
  • Understand and treat a variety of human disease processes, including cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, strokes, and substance abuse, among many others
  • Understand standard precautions and the importance of keeping a clean and sterile environment, as well as how to prevent and halt the spread of disease by maintaining cleanliness
  • Perform a vast number of skills essential to the role of a CNA, including taking vital signs like pulse and blood pressure; helping with activities of daily living like feeding, dressing, or hair and nail care; and assisting clients with walking and range-of-motion exercises
  • Gain insight into the psychological struggles of patients and clients, listening to, empathizing, and connecting with people
  • Understand the rights and responsibilities of nursing assistants, including which tasks they are prohibited from, and how to earn and maintain licensure
  • Network with nurses, doctors, physician assistants, physical therapists and others to provide total care
  • Use effective time management to maintain a work-life balance
  • Exercise professionalism, appropriate conduct, and other soft-skills that will help in finding, securing and maintaining long-term employment.

Bonus Features

Students will have the opportunity to attend a special session of the class upon graduation. This “mock skills” day will specifically focus on preparing students to practice and prepare for the state exam, which will position them for future success.

Who is the Certified Nursing Assistant course for?

The CNA 1 course is ideal for those who are compassionate, understanding and fond of caring for others.

This course may be right for you if:

  • You are interested in an entry-level healthcare job
  • You want a position you can use as a stepping stone to become a:
    • CNA 2
    • Registered nurse
    • Physical therapy assistant
    • Other healthcare professional

You do not have to complete high school or earn a GED to become a CNA 1, but establishing effective time-management skills and study habits are critical to the completion of this program.

Additionally, we recommend the class only to students who are highly proficient in reading, writing and speaking English.

Graduates of our program enjoy higher-than-average pass rates on the state board exam.

The state board exam includes both a written portion and a skills portion. Upon first attempt, our students have achieved a 98% pass rate on the written portion, and a 78% pass rate on the skills portion. On second attempt, our students have a 100% pass rate on the written portion, and a 97% on the skills portion.

The Investment


  • Required orientation before class begins
  • 80.5 hours of classroom and lab skills demonstration
  • 75 hours of clinical practice in a skilled nursing facility
  • 1.5 - 2.5 months to complete


  • $1,598, including lecture, lab, and clinicals
  • Other costs:
    • Background check and drug screen: $75
    • Textbook: roughly $60
    • CPR certification: $75 if taken at PCC CLIMB
    • An appropriate uniform, stethoscope, and gait belt
    • Additionally, after successfully completing the program you will have to pay an additional fee to the Oregon State Board of Nursing to register for and take the state board exam.

Costs are addressed in more detail during orientation, which is required for all students before the first day of class.

PCC offers installment payment plans, which may allow you to make smaller biweekly or monthly payment. To find out more, visit the  installment plan webpage.

How to Enroll

Complete the form on the right to receive more information about how to enroll in the program.

To enroll the CNA courses, follow these steps:

  1. Visit Non-Credit Registration and create a new account. Returning PCC Students can skip this step.
  2. Register for your course online using MyPCC, using all 3 CRNs found in the CNA 1 brochure.
  3. Attend orientation! Orientations are free and must be attended before the first day of class. You can find the orientation schedule in the CNA 1 brochure.

Frequently Asked Questions

Program Requirements

Do I have to apply to this program?
No. The Nursing Assistant Training Program is open registration, so anyone can register once registration for the term opens. However, there are certain requirements you will need to fulfill once you are registered.

What is the minimum age for this program?
We do not recommend this program for anyone under the age of 17. Most nursing facilities only hire CNAs who are 17 years old or older.

Are there prerequisites for the CNA program?
No. There are no required prere­­­­­quisites for the program; you do not need a GED or high school diploma to register. However, we do recommend that you be proficient in English, including reading, writing, and speaking.

English is not my first language. Do I have to take the Compass ESL placement test?
No, but the ESL placement exam is recommended. Some ESL students find the medical terminology taught in the program challenging, and therefore may not do as well on the exams. If you do not pass each of the exams, you will not be able to continue on to the clinical portion of the program, and will not be eligible for a tuition refund for the classroom portion of the program.

What are the requirements I need to fulfill?
You must attend an orientation before the first day of class. Registration is not required to attend an orientation. You can view the full schedule of orientations in the CNA 1 brochure. At orientation, you will learn about CNA training as well as other requirements that you will have to fulfill, including a background check and drug screen.


I can’t attend (or missed) the orientation that is scheduled before the class that I am registered for. But I can attend one that is scheduled after my class begins. Is that okay?
No. Attending an orientation is an Oregon State Board of Nursing requirement, and you must attend one prior to the first day of your class.

I want to go to an orientation now, but I can’t take the program until next term. Will my orientation still meet the requirements for the next term?
Yes, attendance at an orientation is valid for one full year.

Class Information

Do you offer online classes?
No, we do not offer online classes for the CNA 1 program. Students have a much easier time grasping the material in-person, and it better prepares them for the OSBN board exam.

The class I want to take is full. Can you override the class max to let me in, or add me to a waitlist?
We must follow the OSBN regulations for student/teacher ratios, so we are unable to allow additional students into the class. We do not offer a waitlist at this time, but suggest that you keep checking with registration up to the first day of class, to see if a space opens up. Spaces often open during the period after orientations begin but before class starts. If you are still unable to get registered, you can show up at the first day of class. If a registered student fails to show, or has not met all of the requirements, then we will fill the opening with an eligible student. You still need to have attended an orientation, however.

What is the completion rate for your program?
Approximately 85 to 90 percent of our students successfully complete our program.

CNA 1 vs. CNA 2

I see that there’s both CNA 1 and CNA 2. What’s the difference? Do I have to take both?
No, you do not have to take both! You can get your CNA 1 and start working as a CNA right away. The CNA 1 training allows students to obtain employment in many areas of the medical field, including: assisted living facilities (ALF), intermediate care facilities (ICF), and skilled nursing facilities (SNF).

The CNA 2 is an added level of certification that will let you perform additional, more complex skills, and thus work in acute care environment and earn more money. CNA 2 certification is required to work in a hospital, so if your ultimate goal is to work in a hospital environment you will want to eventually pursue a CNA 2.

Can I take the CNA 2 class directly after taking the CNA 1 class?
You must pass the OSBN state board exam before taking the CNA 2 class. Depending upon when you complete your CNA 1 class, how quickly you are able to get scheduled for the state exam, and if you pass on the first try, you may or may not be able to take our classes within consecutive terms.

We also suggest that you get a job prior to beginning the CNA 2 program, so that you have some job experience before applying for CNA 2 openings. By doing so, you will be more competitive in the CNA 2 job market, and better-equipped to do well in the CNA 2 program.

Other Questions

Does PCC offer financial aid?
The Nursing Assistant Training Program is a noncredit class, which means it is not eligible for financial aid. However, PCC does offer installment payment plans.

Can I use an older edition of the textbook?
Yes, you can use a previous edition of the textbook. However, we recommend that the edition you use is no more than one edition older than the current edition. If you are using an older edition, ask your instructor for the reading assignments from that edition. We will have reading assignments from the previous edition, but may not be able to offer assignments for older editions.

How much can I expect to make as a CNA 1?
Entry-level CNAs can make between $9 and $15 an hour, depending on prior work experience, employer, and clinical experience. Find out more by visiting the Oregon Employment Division website.

Will you help me find a job after I complete the program?
No, we do not offer job placement for our students. However, some students do get hired at our clinical facilities, and many other facilities in the area express interest in our students. We periodically receive job postings from area employers. These opportunities will be posted on the CNA job board in the CLIMB Center, and often we will share them directly with student.

I have other questions or would like more information. Who can I talk to?
Contact us at:

You can also attend an orientation! Orientations are free and open to the public - contact us to learn about the next orientation.