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Certified Nursing Assistant

Certified Nursing Assistant

Get on the health care pathway by taking classes at Western Dakota Technical College (WDTC) to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Students will gain instruction and hands-on practice in basic nursing skills and personal care. Skills include measuring vital signs, repositioning patients to aid comfort, cleaning and bathing patients and helping patients with activities of daily living.

Specialty Course Description

This training course focuses on basic nursing skills needed to find employment opportunities in hospitals, clinics and long-term care facilities. Upon completion of this course, you may take the state nursing assistant certification exam which encompasses knowledge and skills assessments.

Western Dakota Technical College’s CNA course meets the S.D. Board of Nursing, S.D. Healthcare Association, and S.D. Department of Health requirements. Students opting to become certified in the South Dakota will need to register and pay for the test separately.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2020 annual mean wage in South Dakota was $30,830.

Admissions Process for Non-Degree Seeking Students
  1. Submit a completed application for admissions– select Program Prep.
  2. Immunization records verifying two doses of measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR). (Required for on-campus students only.)
      • If taking HC124/126 – need to provide verification of COVID-19 vaccination in order to complete clinical component of course.

  3. Schedule to take the ACCUPLACER test. ACCUPLACER is a placement exam over math, English, and reading. There is a $15 testing fee. The ACCUPLACER test will be waived if you have an ACT sub-score of 18 or better in English, Math, and Reading, or an SAT sub-score of at least 440 in Writing and Math. The scores must be within the past five years. *


    *This is only required for program prep students interested in taking a math or English course.

    Note: If you are or have been convicted, pleaded guilty or no contest to, or received a suspended imposition of sentence for a felony or certain misdemeanors, you are advised that you may not be able to complete all course requirements for this course, you may be prevented from taking required certification/licensure examinations in your chosen field, and you may be prevented from gaining employment in your course field.

    If you are not a resident in the state of South Dakota, please be aware that licensing requirements vary from state to state. It is your responsibility to determine if your nursing assistant certification is valid in your state of residence, or the state in which you plan to practice.

Career Outlook

The career expectations in this field are very good. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook, the job outlook for Certified Nursing Assistants, from 2020-30, is 8%. CNA training will prepare you for advanced training in Licensed Practical Nursing (LPN).

Course Requirements
HC 124 Introduction to Patient Care
Credits: 1

HC 126 Introduction to Patient Care Lab and Clinical

Credits: 2
Age Requirement: You must be at least 16 years of age to be employed as a CNA in the state of South Dakota.



Specialty Course Documents

Master Syllabi

Steps for Credential 


Licensure and Certification
  1. Professional licensure and certification requirements often vary from state to state. If you are not planning to locate and work in South Dakota and are considering an academic program that leads to a professional license or certification, it is highly recommended that you first seek guidance from the appropriate licensing agency in the state you plan to work before beginning the academic program. If you need assistance locating a state licensing agency, please contact the Vice President for Teaching and Learning: Tiffany.Howe@wdt.edu or 605.718.2905.

    Current as of September 24, 2021:

    1. The program curriculum meets educational requirements for licensure/certification in the following states: SD
    2. The program curriculum does not meet educational requirements for licensure/certification in the following states:
    3. WDT has not determined whether the program curriculum meets educational requirements for licensure/certification in the following states: AK, AL, American Samoa, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, DE, FL, GA, Guam, HI, IA, ID, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, The Republic of the Marshall Islands, MD, ME, MI, The Federated States of Micronesia, MN, MO, MS, MT, NC, ND, NE, NH, NJ, NM, The Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, The Republic of Palau, The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, RI, SC, TN, TX, UT, VA, The Virgin Islands, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY

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