Get Your Foot in the Door with an Apprenticeship

CNA students
Rebecca A. Eckland

For students who dream of working in the medical profession, TMCC’s partnership with Renown offers a unique opportunity: you can earn while you learn through the Certified Nursing Assistant Apprenticeship (CNA) program. Students do not need to have any formal training to apply, only a desire to find out more about a career that enables you to be a hands-on advocate for patients and an active voice for their well-being and recovery. 

“The CNA apprentice program has been wonderful,” said a Trauma ICU Nurse Manager at Renown who works closely with the CNA Apprentices. “The program allows students to be introduced to the hospital environment in a safe and consistent way. By being on a dedicated unit, they are able to become more comfortable, thus reducing the stress accompanied when learning new content with new people. More importantly, it allows the individual to ensure they enjoy working with that specific patient population before committing as a new hire. We have appreciated the opportunity to have CNA Apprentices on our unit.”

If this opportunity sounds amazing, it is. However, keep in mind that an apprenticeship is not an internship. An apprentice is considered an employee of the hospital and receives the same benefits as other employees: a wage, health benefits, vacation, and sick leave, among others, while also adhering to the same expectations as an employee (adhering to a schedule, following a dress code, etc.) The only way they differ is that in addition to paying an hourly wage, Renown is also covering the cost of the apprentice’s education. 

“It’s an awesome opportunity,” said Jenna Martineau, Recruiter for Renown. “I don’t know a lot of people who can say they got their entire education and clinical hours paid for, especially given how many people go through the medical field. Renown covers everything.” 

How to Apply to Become an Apprentice

Martineau said that there are four apprenticeship opportunities for students to apply for each year, with the next cycle starting in January 2022. If you’re interested, simply go to the Renown careers site and submit an application. If your initial materials are accepted, you will be asked to submit a self-recorded video of yourself answering a series of interview questions. Martineau said she also provides applicants with an overview of the program, different units in the hospital where they can work as apprentices, and a review of the time commitment required to fulfill this position. 

Those who complete the application and interview process should prepare themselves: while working as a CNA in training offers many rewards, it is also a challenging position. Applicants should take the hourly requirements into account before applying. 

“Typically, we do not recommend full-time college students apply for this program,” she explained. “It’s 36–40 hours a week, and apprentices should be prepared to work twelve-hour shifts at the hospital.” 

However, the opportunity to gain real-world, hands-on experience is at the heart of the CNA apprenticeship program. Apprentices can work in the Telemetry, Medical/Surgical or ICU units of the hospital, shadowing a nurse while learning, practicing and perfecting the skills they will need to be successful in this field and beyond. 

Many TMCC students use the CNA as a stepping stone to other medical programs and careers, such as Nursing or Radiologic Technology.  Also, people can use becoming a CNA as hands-on clinical hours that are required for more advanced programs in Medical School, Physicians Assistant (PA) school and PT/OT school,  as most of those programs require you to have clinical work hours under your belt before applying. Gaining on-the-job experience as a CNA in training is a great no-cost way to find out if the medical profession is one that is the right fit for you. 

A Ready-Made Career

In addition to preparing students to advance in their educational journeys, an apprenticeship can also lead to another positive outcome: a full-time career. “We want to retain and turn our apprentices into full-time CNAs who work for us...that’s the goal of all of our apprenticeship programs,” said Martineau, who mentioned that Renown employees are encouraged to continue their education through tuition reimbursement that gives up to $4,000 for employees to use on their tuition and fees. “We also believe strongly that our employees should continue their education.”

So, if want to work in the medical profession and don’t want to go into debt for the tuition and fees, the apprenticeship opportunity made possible through the partnership of TMCC and Renown will enable you to receive quality, hands-on training, education and additional benefits at no cost to you. 

To learn more about the CNA Apprenticeship, contact TMCC’s CNA Program at 775-824-8640  or Renown’s Recruitment Office at 775-982-5298.