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Certified Nurse Aide, Personal Care Aide & Home Health Aide

Download the CNA/PCA/HHA information sheet

The tri-certification program trains students to become certified as Personal Care Aides (PCA) and to upgrade their training to receive the Home Health Aide (HHA) certification. In addition, it prepares students to take the written and practical skill exam to obtain the New York State Nurse Aide Certification. Certified Nurse Aides (CNA) perform delegated tasks involving personal care of residents at long-term care skilled nursing facilities. Most CNAs work with the elderly, however CNAs are also in demand for work with children and developmentally disabled residents. PCAs and HHAs work primarily in home care settings and in assisted living facilities.

This course has a minimum of 100 classroom hours and a minimum of 38 hours of field experience in clinical sites. Included in the course is an additional 40 hours of Personal Care Aide and 48 hours of Personal Care Aide upgrade training for those who prefer to work in a home setting.

The CNA course (including the PCA and PCA upgrade) is taught in English and lasts approximately eight weeks. To ensure success more than the required number of classroom and lab hours are provided. Classes are held in our Albany and Schenectady sites.


  • Medical and immunization information
  • High School Diploma or equivalency - Preferred

We advise potential participants to contact our office to obtain additional information and the necessary forms well in advance of the start of class.

If you have a criminal record, it may affect your ability to work in a nursing home, home care agency, or hospital. For details, refer to the NYDOH Nursing Home Nurse Aide Certification Handbook(page 3), or NYDOH Codes, Rules, and Regulations, Title 10.

Students with pet allergies need to contact the CNA or HHA Instructor in ad­vance of the class to determine if a pet resides in the clinical facility. If possible, at­tempts will be made to place students in clinical facilities without pets.

Functional Abilities

The Federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities. In keeping with this law, Schenectady County Community College makes every effort to ensure quality education for all students. However, we feel obliged to inform students of the functional abilities demanded by a particular occupation.

Gross Motor Skills

  • Ability to maintain balance in standing position
  • Ability to twist body from one side to the other
  • Ability to reach below the waist and to the front or side of the body to the level of the top of head (examples: adjust overhead lights, plug electrical appliance into wall outlet)
  • Ability to push, pull, stabilize, twist, and freely move arms to allow movement of 50 pounds (as in moving an object or transferring a client from one place to another)

Fine Motor Skills

  • Ability to grasp, twist, squeeze, pinch, and manipulate fine equipment for at least five seconds.

Tactile Ability

  • Ability to distinguish subtle vibrations through the skin (pulse)
  • Ability to identify the subtle difference in surface characteristics (feel a raised rash)
  • Ability to detect temperature (skin, liquids, environment)


  • Ability to squat or modified squat (one knee on floor) for at least one minute 
  • Ability to move quickly in case of emergency situations
  • Ability to climb and descend a flight of stairs in succession
  • Ability to walk independently without the assistance of a cane, walker, crutches, wheel chair or the assistance of another person

Environment and Physical Endurance

  • Ability to have stamina sufficient to maintain physical activity for a period of time from five to eight hours
  • Ability to tolerate exposure to common allergens such as pets, body lotions, soaps, and cleaning products
  • Ability to work in confined spaces
  • Ability to tolerate heat and humidity as high as 90 degrees for up to 30 minutes (shower/bathrooms)

Speech and Communication

  • Ability to interact with others to report and advocate for the needs of the clients
  • Ability to speak, write, and understand English in order to be able to communicate with clients as well as report and document client information

Senses: Smell, Hearing, and Vision

  • Ability to detect differences in body and environmental odors 
  • Ability to hear and understand voices spoken at a normal speaking volume within a distance of 10 feet
  • Ability to hear faint noises such as whispers within a range of four feet
  • Ability to have depth perception and peripheral vision to allow identification of dangerous objects and client situations within the client's room
  • Ability to read and interpret written data held at normal reading distance

Emotional Stability

  • Ability to interact and support clients during times of stress and emotional upset
  • Ability to adapt to changing situations and emergency conditions while maintaining emotional control
  • Ability to cope with strong emotions and physical outbursts of clients while remaining reasonably calm
  • Ability to focus attention on client needs despite interruptions and multiple demands
  • Ability to accept constructive feedback and accept responsibility for actions

Interpersonal Skills

  • Ability to apply knowledge gained in classroom to establish appropriate relationships with clients, families, and co-workers
  • Ability to interact as a member of the health care team
  • Ability to show respect for diversity in culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, socio­economic status, and abilities and disabilities

Students with disabilities have the right to request reasonable accommodations from the College and the program, as necessitated by their disability. Information is available on reasonable accommodations to meet the Functional Abilities upon the applicant's request. Please contact the Office of ADA Transition Services.

Upcoming Classes




9 a.m.-3 p.m.


$2,200 (includes textbooks, scrubs, test fees, and CDTA bus transportation)

Please note that SUNY Schenectady has some laptop computers available for loan for registered students.