AWC to offer Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program

The Arizona Western College Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program is returning to La Paz County in the spring of 2019.

Students interested in a career in the nursing field can earn their certified or licensed nursing assistant certificate through the program. Nursing assistants work under the supervision of nurses to provide high quality care to patients in nursing homes, assisted living centers, hospitals, hospice, correctional institutions, clinics, and other settings. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of nursing assistants and orderlies is projected to grow 11 percent from 2016 to 2026.

Caitlin Olson graduated from AWC’s CNA program in 2014 while she was still a senior at Parker High School. She was afforded the opportunity through AWC’s partnership with the Western Arizona Vocational Education District (WAVE) Joint Technical Education District (JTED).

Now, four years later, Olson has earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with an emphasis in Pre-Medicine from Grand Canyon University and was recently accepted into the Master of Science in Physician Assistant program at Bethel University.

The patient care experience she gained through her CNA clinical rotations at La Paz Regional Hospital put her ahead of her classmates at the bachelor’s degree level.

“A lot of my peers in the same major were struggling to gain patient care experience,” she said. “I came in as a freshman in college already having that experience and I was able to get jobs over the summer with my CNA certificate. Most of my classmates ended up having to do accelerated CNA programs over winter break.”

Having the program available to her in high school also helped her determine if healthcare was the right fit for her future.

“The CNA program allowed me that experience to know if I could see myself interacting with patients and being in the healthcare field,” said Olson. “I feel like receiving my CNA certificate confirmed my calling. Once I got into my job as a CNA I felt very fulfilled in the work I was doing. It gave me certainty that I was headed in the right direction.”

Contact the AWC Parker or Quartzsite locations to receive an enrollment packet. The Parker Learning Center can be reached at (928) 669-2214 and the Quartzsite Learning Center can be reached at (928) 927-8299.

Interested parties should utilize Fall 2018 to complete any necessary prerequisites for the program.


  1. Fabulous news!
    Hope the high school students take advantage of this.
    Contact your high school counselors for more information or Kathy O’compo at the Parker Learning Center.

  2. Not everyone getting out of High School will be getting a four year degree. Nice to see this program being offered here. Vocational education classes are a much needed addition to this community. Not having to travel to LHC or Yuma for this is definitely a win win!

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