The definition of a caregiver: A skilled helping hand in moments of need for daily living – for the elderly, for the sick, for the disabled.
With new assisted-living facilities slated to come online in the near future, and with several already in operation, the need for certified caregivers in the Flagstaff area and Coconino County is growing. To meet that need, Coconino Community College has brought back its Assisted Living Facility Caregiver Certificate program, which begins in January with the spring semester.
“I had the executive director of a local facility come meet with me,” said Katherine Costa, director of Nursing and Allied Health at CCC. “They’re in such a need of caregivers, we’re reviving it to meet that need.”
The program, which is geared to accommodate 20 students, is seven weeks long, Costa added. The first six weeks will be on Saturdays, seven-hour days, with classroom lectures and skills sessions in a lab with mannequins. Students will also be required to “shadow” a caregiver who works in the area for up to 20 hours during the course of the six weeks.
“They will get an idea of what it’s like to be a caregiver and be familiar with the environment before they start working,” Costa said.
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The seventh week is entirely devoted to CPR and first-aid training. After completing the program, students will take the state certification test, which is available at CCC in Flagstaff. When the students pass the test, they are certified and ready for the workforce. Students who begin the program in January can be certified and working by April.
Who would make a good caregiver?
“It’s really for anybody interested in working in healthcare,” Costa said, adding that the only requirement is that the students turn 18 years of age before they take the certification test.
Lisa Blank, dean of Career and Technical Education and Adult Education at CCC, said, “We’re really excited about the relaunch of the caregiver certificate program. It is an example of our focus on stackable, fast-track credentials that help students move quickly into the healthcare sector that desperately needs our community support.”
Costa added that the program offers four credits toward a college degree. She also said she believes that students with the caregiver certificate will likely go onto receiving a nursing assistant certification, and perhaps even have a goal of becoming a nurse or physician.
Costa said that in the fall semester, CCC will add to the Caregiver program by providing a course in certifying caregivers to provide medication to patients in their charge. And, depending on the success, the Caregiver program might grow in Flagstaff and also be offered in Page to residents in the far northern parts of Coconino County.
For more information about the Certified Caregiver program and other healthcare training at CCC, visit https://www.coconino.edu/paths/health-services.
Larry Hendricks is the senior manager of Public Relations and Marketing at Coconino Community College.