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Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) Apprentice Training Program

Take the first step toward your future! We'll support you all the way.

Becoming a certified nurse assistant (CNA) is a great place to start your health care career. The Maine Medical Center (MMC) CNA apprentice training program is sponsored by MMC’s Center for Clinical and Professional Development, in partnership with Portland Adult Education. Successful graduates may become certified by the Maine Registry of CNAs. Our next class begins in January 2023.

What is a CNA?

Certified nurse assistants (CNAs) are important members of the MMC patient care team. They provide direct patient assistance with activities of daily living and basic health care needs - helping patients feel safe and comfortable throughout their hospital stay.

What is the MMC CNA Apprentice Training Program?

MMC has provided expert training for certified nurse assistants (CNAs) since 1998. More than 2,000 students have graduated to date. Our 7-week, state-approved course is offered six times per year at no charge to students. The program includes classroom work, skills labs and clinical experience - with 28 hours of training over 4 days per week.

Students are paid at a rate of $16 per hour plus benefits while they are in class and on clinical units. Textbooks and workbooks are provided at no charge. At the end of the program, students take the state CNA certification examination at no cost to them.

Successful graduates are required to work as CNAs at MMC for at least one year at a minimum of 20 hours per week upon completion of the course.

Faculty members are experienced MMC nursing staff who teach and mentor students through a combination of classroom presentations, skills labs and supervised clinical experiences. In the skills labs, students practice taking vital signs, patient hygiene skills and assisting with patient mobility. During the clinical experience, students work directly with patients on MMC nursing units. Training topics include:

  • Age-specific care through the lifespan
  • Safe patient care delivery
  • Infection control principles and practices
  • Body mechanics and mobility skills
  • Communication skills
  • Assisting with activities of daily living
  • Nutrition and assisting patients with meeting nutritional needs
  • Common health problems and nursing assistant care
  • CPR and basic life support (BLS)

More About the Program

Please click below for important details about who can apply, where and when class takes place, working at MMC, and the steps in the application process.

Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and a US citizen (or have a current, valid, US work authorization). Vaccination for COVID-19 is required in order to be accepted by this program and to work at Maine Medical Center.

A person cannot be a CNA in Maine if they have been convicted of:

  • Theft or abuse in a health care setting
  • Sexual abuse, or
  •  A crime for which one could have received a 3-year sentence.

If you have questions about becoming a CNA in Maine, please contact the Maine CNA Registry at 800-791-4080 or visit their website.

Note: the CNA Registry does not have information about MMC’s program. For more information about the MMC CNA Training program, contact us at cnaprogram@MaineHealth.org or 207-662-2483.

  1. Pass the CASAS reading assessment with a score of 240 or above: Click here to register for the 75 minute assessment. Choose one of the MMC assessment times. Face masks are required and seating is limited. Please let us know if you have registered, but can no longer attend, so another applicant can have that seat. If you hold a Bachelor’s or Associate’s degree from a US-accredited institution of higher learning, we may be able to waive the CASAS assessment. Please submit a copy of your diploma or transcript to cnaprogram@MaineHealth.org.

  2. Attend an information session: Applicants who score 240 or higher on the CASAS reading assessment will be invited to attend an MMC CNA Apprentice Training Program information session.

  3. Complete the online application or print and complete our PDF version

  4. Additional items need to be submitted before your application can be considered complete. You must submit:
    • One (1) copy of front of driver's license or State ID card (or other form of ID with photo and signature)
    • One (1) copy of front of Social Security card
    • Copy of proof of high school graduation or equivalency, or diploma or transcript of associates or undergraduate degree from US-accredited institution of higher learning
    • Two (2) professional written references from people in leadership capacity only, for example, current or past supervisors. These references should be emailed to cnaprogram@mainehealth.org. If you have not been employed in recent years, other character references (teacher, coach, volunteer group leader, clergy, etc.) are acceptable. References from relatives are not acceptable.

    Please provide photocopies of documents we can keep. We cannot return documents or make copies for you. You may mail these items to the address below, or email them to cnaprogram@MaineHealth.org.

    MMC Nursing Academic Affairs, CNA Program
    22 Bramhall St., Rm 2645
    Portland, ME 04102

  5. Following the Information Session, applications will be reviewed and selected applicants will be contacted to schedule an interview.

Do I need the COVID vaccination? Yes, you must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 in order to be accepted by this program and to work at Maine Medical Center.

Is there a commitment to work at MMC once I am certified? Yes, upon successful completion of the course and if offered a position, you are expected to work as a CNA at MMC (or at your MaineHealth-sponsoring organization) for a minimum of 1 year, at least 20 hours per week.

Where does class take place? Our classroom is located in Westbrook. Clinicals take place at the hospital, at 22 Bramhall Street in Portland. 

When does class meet? Class meets 4 days a week in person, generally Monday through Thursday, with 2 days of class time and 2 days of clinical time. Class days are from 8 am to 3 pm. Clinical days are 7 am to 2:30 pm. Students spend time outside of class completing homework and studying for quizzes and exams.

What should I think about before I apply? Will you have time to study outside of class hours? Consider the needs of your family and your current work responsibilities and schedule before applying to this program. Do you enjoy helping others? Will you be comfortable with caring for another person’s basic needs? It's also important that you are open to working nights and weekends upon successful completion of the course.

How do I sign up for the CASAS reading assessment? Click to register for the 75 minute assessment.

What if I am unable to sit for the CASAS at MMC? Check with your local adult education program. Many of them also administer the CASAS. We only need Section D completed, and the results must be emailed to cnaprogram@MaineHealth.org.

How do I sign up for the information session? Once you score 240 or higher on the CASAS, we will send you an invitation to the CNA Training Program information session.

What if I was home-schooled or haven’t worked in a number of years? Who can I ask to write a reference letter for me? If you have no professional references or can’t ask a teacher to write a letter of recommendation, you could ask someone who knows you well but is not a relative; such as a coach, clergy member or volunteer leader/coordinator. 

How many students are accepted for the course? We currently accept 20-25 students for each course.  

What kind of patient care units host clinicals during the program? Students are assigned to a general surgery, neurology, cardiac care, orthopedic or similar unit for the clinical portion of the program.

What is the uniform for clinicals? Black scrub pants, white scrub top and black or white shoes. Open back shoes or shoes with holes, such as Crocs, are not acceptable.

Do CNAs work all shifts? Yes, MMC CNAs work days, evenings, nights and weekends - based on the needs of their assigned unit.