Nursing - Certificate - Nursing Assistant

Nursing Assistants are in high demand by employers in Whatcom County!

Choose BTC’s Nursing Assistant program to train for nursing assistant jobs in a wide variety of medical settings. The knowledge and skills you’ll gain are highly valued by healthcare industry employers such as hospitals, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and home health agencies. 


There is not an Info Session scheduled for Winter 2024. Please reach out to our College Navigators to schedule an appointment at .

Nursing Assistant training meets the Healthcare Experience requirement for entry into the BTC Registered and Practical Nursing Programs. Students who complete the Nursing Assistant program will be eligible to take their WA State CNA certification exams.

The Nursing Assistant Program at Bellingham Technical College is approved by the State of Washington, Department of Health, Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission. 

Note: BTC has not made a determination that the Nursing Assistant curriculum meets educational requirements for licensure/certification outside of Washington State. We encourage students who plan to work out-of-state to check relevant local licensure/certification requirements.

Employment Information

Data are provided on a program (not credential) level

77% BTC graduate placement rate1

$35,048 starting annual wage2
$37,149 average annual wage2
$43,077 potential annual wage2

  • Employment and Wage Data Sources and Information

    1Employment data come from the Washington State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC) and reflect WA/OR employment for students enrolled at BTC between 2017-18 and 2019-20. Students are included in the employment rate if they left with a credential. Rates are not shown for programs with fewer than 10 students meeting the above criteria.

    2Whatcom County and WA State wage data come from Washington State Employment Security Department (ESD) 2021 Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates and reflect 2018-21 employment. Wage data represent occupations that BTC faculty have identified as the most relevant career paths for program graduates. Note that these wages reflect employees with varying educational levels/credentials. For cases in which multiple occupations have been identified by faculty, a weighted percentile is calculated using each occupation’s percentile wage and employment size estimate. Wages are not shown for programs for which occupations do not meet the ESD’s minimum thresholds for publishing. If the program has wage data from the Washington SBCTC that involves shift work, these ESD wages reflect the same number of hours used in the annual wage calculation. Starting wage = 25th percentile, median wage = 50th percentile, wage potential = 75th percentile.

    3Additional employment rates are provided for programs with faculty who maintain their own employment records of students who graduated between 2017-18 and 2019-20 and who were employed within 9 months of graduation. Both overall and in field of study employment rates are included, respectively. For these programs, the format follows: ESD rate / faculty-tracked overall rate / faculty-tracked in-field rate. These additional, faculty-provided rates are particularly important for programs that tend to have graduates employed outside of WA and OR. Note that due to lack of available data, rates may represent fewer than 3 years of graduates.

  • Estimated Program Costs

Tuition Fees and Rates overview page

Entry Information

When Can I Start?

Students interested in the Nursing Assistant program should apply to the college and contact Admissions at 360.752.8345 or for assistance with getting started at BTC. A college application and your score on complete guided self-placement and/or previous transcripts will determine where you begin your course sequence.

Students are admitted in Fall, Winter, Spring and Summer quarters on a space available basis. Please be aware that this is not an online program.

The BTC Nursing Assistant program is pleased to announce it has added clinical placement at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center (SJH) in addition to nursing home placements. The addition of SJH clinical placement prepares students to work as a CNA in high-demand, acute care settings. Applicants should be aware that they must pass a urine drug screen and provide proof of immunization in addition to a criminal history background check. More information can be found on the Nursing Assistant Program Information Sheet and course calendar.

Students will be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19. To be considered fully vaccinated, two weeks must have passed since the date of the second dose or first dose for the one-dose vaccine. The program’s clinical partner agencies will not accept any exemption to full COVID-19 vaccination.

CPR class (AHA BLS Healthcare Provider) is included in the Nursing Assistant Program! Students do NOT need to register for these in addition to NA 101 & NA 102. Email if you have questions.

Spring Quarter 2024 Course Calendar 

2024-2025 Nursing Assistant Handbook/Workbook

What are the Minimum Entry Requirements?

Admissions application and complete guided self-placement in Reading, Math and Writing is required. Your score on the test and/or your previous transcripts will determine where you begin your course sequence. Contact Admissions at 360.752.8345 or for assistance with academic planning.

Physical Requirements

AFTER admissions acceptance into the program and prior to beginning program classes students must submit proof of all Clinical Placement Requirements.

Nursing Assistant Program Information and Clinical Placement Information Sheet

  • Documentation of a two-step tuberculin skin test (TB) completed within the last year. TB must be current through Nursing Assistant enrollment. This may be completed while starting the program (not an entry requirement, but encouraged to get started before starting the program) Student Tuberculosis (TB) Form

  •  This program requires a criminal history background check prior to attending the clinic practicum. Criminal History Background Check Information Sheet

  • Applicants should be aware that they must pass a urine drug screen and provide proof of immunization including MMR, Varicella, Hepatitis B, Tdap, influenza, and COVID-19. Please note that marijuana is a banned substance and students who test positive for marijuana cannot attend clinical at a PeaceHealth facility. More information can be found on the Nursing Assistant Program Information Sheet.

Notice About Marijuana Usage

Students who test positive for THC (marijuana, including prescription marijuana) will not be allowed entrance to Nursing and Allied Health programs with clinical components. Drug screening is a requirement of our clinical partner agencies. Although private recreational and medical use of marijuana is legal in Washington state, our clinical partner agencies are governed by federal laws, and marijuana is a prohibited substance at the federal level. If your final drug test results are positive, you will be ineligible to participate in the program that year and will be allowed to reapply to the program 12 months from the date of the positive test.

What are My Next Steps?


Total Program Credits: 12

  • Current Students: Learn how to use this page to register for classes

  • Quarter 1

  • NA 101Nursing Assistant Essentials6 CR
  • NA 102Nursing Assistant Clinical6 CR
  • View past class requirements for this program.

Program Outcomes

  • Demonstrate clinical competencies defined in WAC 246-841
  • Identify and apply nursing knowledge necessary in the nursing assistant role



Bellingham Technical College’s Nursing Program delivers high-quality nursing education to benefit the health of our region.


The Nursing Program will be a recognized leader in providing innovative, effective, and progressive nursing education. The Program creates options for career success by developing a professional nursing workforce.


Nursing is both an art and a science; an art requiring creativity and skill, and a science requiring knowledge and the application of evidence-based practice. Nursing provides safe, patient-centered care in collaboration with the healthcare team.


In accordance with Bellingham Technical College’s values, the nursing program has established the following values:

  • Student-Centered: Use high-quality instruction to create pathways to reduce barriers and support student learning.
  • Collaborative: Strengthen student workplace readiness through partnerships and job placement services so students may achieve their education and career goals.
  • Principled: Cultivate a welcoming and accessible learning environment, which promotes student success through a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusiveness.
  • Responsive: Prioritize continuous quality improvement to keep pace with workforce needs and emerging industry trends.

Employment Outlook

Employment of nursing assistants is expected to increase. Employment of nursing assistants is expected to grow much faster than the average for all occupations in response to an emphasis on rehabilitation and the long-term care needs of a rapidly aging population.

The average annual wage in this field is, $30,969 with an earning potential of about $35,464 per year.*

Criminal convictions may restrict or prevent student participation with internships and employment in this industry.

Most program graduates work as nursing assistants in extended care facilities, hospitals, clinics and home health agencies. Others work in residential care facilities, such as halfway houses and homes for the elderly or disabled, or in private households. Nationally, about one-half of all nursing assistants work in nursing homes, and about one-fourth work in hospitals.

Faculty & Support

Photo of Jane Samms
Jane Samms

  • Degrees and Credentials

    Certificate, Nursing Assistant, Whatcom Community College

    AA, Nursing, Bellingham Technical College

    BA, English-Literature Emphasis, Western Washington University

Nursing Support Specialist - Advising for all Nursing and Pre-Nursing Master of Education Bachelor of Science – Mathematics I am a dedicated, goal oriented, team player with eight years’ experience teaching and four years teaching Middle School Summer School, three years running an After School Homework Center, and four years as an Accounting Clerk. I have been a Site Team Chair, Mathematics Head Chair, and the Middle School and High School Curriculum Director for Mathematics. I like challenges and finding solutions to them. I thrive on providing excellence in all areas of my job. My undergraduate schooling was completed at Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama where I earned a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Mathematics and was awarded one of four of the University’s top awards, the George S. Benson Citizenship Award for Outstanding Contribution in Academics and Athletics. I have completed my Master of Education Degree and Teaching Certification in Secondary Education at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington


If you have questions about this program or want help with the admissions steps to Bellingham Technical College, please email

Current students wanting academic planning and support, can connect with the program Instructor(s) or email