DMACC Announces Tuition-Free Scholarships for 100 New Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) Students Starting Spring 2022

Posted 10/26/2021
CNA students

Shortage of CNA professionals triggers new effort to recruit students into the program

  • ​The new CNA scholarship is open to all prospective students.
  • There are no income or academic requirements. The first 100 qualified applicants will receive the scholarship.
  • In-person CNA classes start on January 10 and are available at all six campuses and the Southridge Learning Center.

Beginning immediately, DMACC will begin accepting scholarship applications for new students who enroll in the College’s Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) program at any of DMACC’s six campuses and the Southridge Center.​

The new CNA Scholarship is open to the first 100 students who apply and qualify. It will cover the cost of tuition, fees and books for the 75-hour, three credit certification. The scholarship’s estimated value is $700.

“There is a shortage of direct care workers in hospitals, senior centers and numerous other institutions,” said Dr. Art Brown, Dean of DMACC’s Health and Public Services Department. “CNA graduates are urgently needed to fill these job vacancies. As a result, we’re motivated to help solve this problem. Our goal is to refill and energize the pipeline of direct care workers.”

​He attributed the shortage of direct care workers to the COVID pandemic, competition from other occupations and retirements.

Dr. Natalia Thilges, Director of DMACC’s Nursing program said the pay for direct care workers has been rising and CNA students will start at between $16 and $19 an hour here in Central Iowa. She said on occasion starting pay has been higher and many are receiving sign-on bonuses.

She also noted DMACC’s three credit CNA program offers a solid foundation and direct pathway into the College’s outstanding nursing program. “Nursing is a rewarding career both personally and professionally. DMACC’s CNA program is a pipeline into this important healthcare field,” said Thilges.

She said DMACC’s CNA program offers many advantages. “DMACC has state-of-the- art-facilities, small class sizes, free tutoring and hands-on curriculum. Our students are the best trained and have exceptional outcomes,” said Thilges, who noted that DMACC’s CNA program has a 100 percent job placement rate.

Brown added that the new scholarship makes an exceptional program even more desirable. “There are many caring people who want to get into this field. But, they may need some financial assistance. This new scholarship addresses that need,” said Brown.

However, there are no income guidelines attached to the new CNA scholarship. Students will need to buy some supplies, including nursing scrubs and also meet all health and vaccine requirements.

The CNA program is currently taking applications for classes that start on January 10, the first day of DMACC’s spring semester.

Additional sections will be offered throughout the semester. CNA classes are offered in the metro at the Ankeny, Urban West​

Des Moines campuses and Southridge Center. They also take place at the Carroll, Boone and Newton campuses.

For more information go to the DMACC Nurse Aide Training Program website or email at

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