By ANDREW TERRY
Amarillo College’s certified nursing assistant (CNA) program is planning a multiple entry/exit program to streamline the process of healthcare students earning multiple credentials.
The multiple entry/exit plan, or MEEP, will allow students to earn certifications while also earning a nursing degree. “We
hope that this will help students moving forward into nursing be more successful,” Michele Rupe, an instructor for the CNA program, said. The MEEP does not have a specified start date yet.
“Most of our students are planning to continue on to nursing degrees,” Rupe said. Some students in the program plan on earning a bachelor’s degree in nursing, but need CNA experience to apply.
“Nursing assistants help residents through their daily lives. The nurse assistant will help with needs like dressing, grooming, bathing and eating,” Rupe said.
There are two options. One option, which counts as continuing education credit, prepares students to take the CNA exam in 12 weeks, but, according to Rupe, they have to pay out of pocket. The 12-week program has an estimated total cost of $1,400 for tuition and supplies according to the program’s page on the AC website. The other option is a level 1 certificate that requires students to complete 15 credit hours. This option allows students to use financial aid to
help pay for the classes but takes two semesters to complete. Students in the certificate option also get to walk the stage when they graduate.
“I entered the CNA program because I got laid off from my job due to COVID. I’ve always enjoyed helping people so I
thought I would give being a CNA a try,” Ishmael Gillarm, a nursing major, said. After Gillarm completed the program, he got a job as a CNA at the Amarillo Veteran’s Administration and is currently pursuing a degree in nursing.