According to Feather River College’s Vocational Nursing department, the health care field expects significant growth in career opportunities in the next few decades. This provides opportunity for students who enroll in the school’s certified nurse assistant (CAN) training program. Feather River College, which had an annual enrollment of approximately 1,500 students in 2013, trains students for careers as CNAs. The Vocational Nursing department offers an associate degree in science (AS) that prepares students to work as CNAS in hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities. Annual tuition and fees for the 2012-13 school year were $1,445 per semester plus additional fees for books and supplies. Feather River College offers some on-campus housing.
CNA Program Requirements
To earn an AS degree in vocational nursing, students must study year-round for two years. The program requires students to commit to an average of 20 hours per week for classroom study and clinical work. Students in the CNA program must complete 11 different courses and perform clinical work, which requires students to spend time in the field. During clinics, students work alongside licensed CNAs and registered nurses. In addition to nursing coursework, students must complete general education requirements. According to the school’s website, students must complete 954 clinical hours and 577 theory hours.
Students have the option of enrolling in either of two programs that lead to a CNA career. In addition to the AS degree program, students may enroll in a certificate program, which requires less coursework beyond the vocation nursing department. Students who complete this program receive a certificate of achievement instead of a degree. Also, students may choose between taking courses at the Feather River College campus in Quincy, or at a satellite campus in Fall River Mills, Calif. Each fall, the college accepts up to 20 students for enrollment on each campus.
Prerequisites and Coursework
The vocational nursing department requires all nursing students to take and pass four prerequisite courses before beginning the other nursing courses. Students must pass courses in human anatomy, human physiology, nutrition and nurse’s aiding. Other courses introduce students to the basics of nursing, including how to communicate and interact with patients, and how to perform basic procedures in hospitals and other health care facilities. Students also take courses in medical surgical nursing, pharmacology, obstetrical nursing and pediatric nursing.
Students who complete either the AS degree program or the certificate program are prepared to take the National Council Licensure Exam for Practical/Vocational Nurses. Students who take and pass the exam must apply for licensure with the California Board of Vocational Nursing and Psychiatric Technicians.
Students who complete the AS degree program have the option of continuing at Feather River College. The vocational nursing department also offers a licensed vocational nursing (LVN) degree and a registered nursing degree. The LVN program requires students to complete additional coursework. It is the second step in the school’s training program. Students who complete the LVN program may work as licensed nurses, who assist doctors and registered nurses. Students also can take additional courses to earn an RN degree. Students have the opportunity to complete the LVN program and RN program as part of their two-year degree, or students can take the LVN and RN courses following completion of their two-year CNA associate degree program.
Based in Central Florida, Ron White has worked as professional journalist since 2001. He specializes in sports and business. White started his career as a sportswriter and later worked as associate editor for Maintenance Sales News and as the assistant editor for "The Observer," a daily newspaper based in New Smyrna Beach, Fla. White has written more than 2,000 news and sports stories for newspapers and websites. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Eastern Illinois University.