Jun 21, 2024  
2023-2024 Academic Catalog 
2023-2024 Academic Catalog

Health Care Assistant, Certificate

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Kristy Ethridge, Program Coordinator/Instructor

The Health Care Assistant (HCA) Program is a one-semester, 16-hour college credit program. This state approved program combines classroom, lab and clinical training experiences. HCA students receive instruction in basic health care assisting skills, body structure and function, special care procedures, first aid emergency procedures and Home Health Aid and Homemaker Services.

Students who successfully complete the prescribed program of study are eligible to apply to write the Nurse Aide Competency Examination in order to become certified in the State of Mississippi to practice as a Nurse Assistant. Employment opportunities include not only a career as a Health Care Assistant, but also Long-Term Care Aide, Homemaker and Home Health Aide. This program is especially helpful to those students continuing their education by obtaining basic knowledge and work skills. This program is offered both fall and spring semesters.

Minimum admission requirements (in addition to general admission requirements):

Attain a 15 composite score on the ACT;


Score a 210 or higher on the ACCUPLACER NG Reading Section and a 210 or above on the ACCUPLACER NG Arithmetic Section.

Prior to clinical experiences, students must receive CPR certification. Students must provide proof of immunization for MMR, Varicella and HBV or sign a declination. A Mantoux Two-Step TB Skin Test and a Drug Screening Test will be scheduled after enrollment.

All students admitted into the program will be required to be fingerprinted for a background check, which will be performed after admission and prior to clinical laboratories. These fees will be attached as registration fees. There are certain convictions that will prevent an individual being eligible to participate in clinical experiences. If a student is unable to participate in clinical experiences, he/she will be dismissed from the Program. For additional information, contact the Health Education Advisor.

Total Semester Hours 16

Mississippi Law now requires health care professionals or Workforce Education students enrolled in programs whose primary purpose is to prepare professionals to render patient care services to submit to criminal background checks and fingerprinting prior to beginning any clinical rotation in a licensed health care entity. If such fingerprinting or criminal background checks of the student disclose a felony conviction, guilty plea or plea of nolo contendere to a felony of possession or sale of drugs, murder, manslaughter, armed robbery, rape, sexual battery, sex offense listed in Section 45-33-23 (g), child abuse, arson, grand larceny, burglary, gratification of lust, aggravated assault or felonious abuse and/or battery of a vulnerable adult which has not been reversed on appeal or for which a pardon has not been granted, the student shall not be eligible to be admitted to such health program of study, nor will he/she be eligible to participate in clinical training in a licensed entity. In addition, clinical affiliates have identified “other exclusions” or other criminal offenses that will preclude a student from participating in the clinical practicum. The student’s eligibility to participate in the clinical training phase of his/her health care program shall be voided if the student receives a disqualifying criminal record check; therefore, the student will be dismissed from the program.

If a student currently enrolled in the HCA program is prohibited from participating in clinical experiences by any clinical affiliate of Meridian Community College (e.g., positive drug screen, egregious behavior, violation of patient safety, non-compliance with the College’s “Student Behavior Code,” etc.), then the student will be dismissed from the program of study. The student is not eligible for program readmission unless the clinical restriction is removed.

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