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Berkeley College Nurse Aide Certification class

Non-credit Courses May Allow for Career Change or Advancement



Berkeley College Nurse Aide Certification class


Diane Skibicki wants to transition from a position as a bus driver to working in a hospital as a registered nurse. As a first step to breaking into the healthcare field, Ms. Skibicki enrolled in the Nurse Aide Certification course at Berkeley College in Dover.

“The course is short and will prepare me for an entry-level position in the medical field while I pursue my nursing degree,” Ms. Skibicki said.

The Nurse Aide Certification course is a non-credit course created and monitored by the New Jersey Department of Health. A certified nurse aide (CNA) is prepared to work in long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, and hospitals. Other non-credit professional courses offered through Berkeley College include HIPPA Awareness Preparation and Creating Relational Capital for Sales Professionals. Both are self-paced online courses.

LaVerne Ploom, RN, B.S.N., who teaches the Nurse Aide Certification course, said that many of her students aspire to become licensed practical nurses (LPNs). The Berkeley College Practical Nurse certificate program offered at Dover and Clifton prepares students to sit for the LPN exam.

Graduates of the CNA program may benefit in numerous ways. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, nationwide employment of nursing assistants and orderlies is projected to grow 21 percent through 2022, faster than the average for all occupations. In addition, New Jersey state law requires that CNAs who work in Medicare or Medicaid participating nursing home facilities be reimbursed for their certification course expenses. Reimbursement can start as early as three months into employment and is usually given on a quarterly basis.

“Working in a long-term care facility offers great experience and can make it easier for CNAs to get a good job in a hospital later on,” Ms. Ploom said. “Many of the larger hospitals and physicians’ offices offer tuition reimbursement, allowing CNAs to pursue their nursing education without accumulating debt.”

Ms. Skibicki recently completed the clinical portion of her course at The House of the Good Shepherd Assisted Living facility in Hackettstown, NJ.

“I helped with feeding, bathing, and dressing, as well as assisting with any ambulatory needs,” Ms. Skibicki said. “It was a great experience. I really enjoyed helping and interacting with the residents.”