Kirkwood Community College

Patient Care Career Academy


A unique, hands-on learning experience providing care for patients in a clinical setting. Work side-by-side with healthcare professionals in a healthcare facility and fulfill prerequisites for many college health programs.

Perform basic nursing skills through hands-on, direct patient care. Examples include: assessment of vital signs, such as taking blood pressure, temperature and respiration, performing basic hygiene and transfer skills (bathing, dressing and feeding) and learning to communicate with residents and the healthcare team.
Student Requirements

Students are required to have a current physical and immunization records completed and then submitted to Certified Background during the first semester of the academy.

Per state requirements, all health care facilities require criminal background checks, including students in a clinical setting. More information will be shared at the required orientation.
Average Salaries
Nurse (BSN)
Health Care Administrator
 Based on available Iowa salary data at

Patient Care Courses

 * Course offerings may vary. Visit your nearest Kirkwood location website or high school for local course options.

HSC-107 | Professionals in Health | 2 credits

Presents skills and characteristics expected for professional preparation and employability. Provides an overview of the health industry as it relates to health and safety regulations.
Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B.

HSC-115 | Medical Terminology | 4 credits
A comprehensive study of medical terminology as the language of medicine. Analyzes words by dividing them into component parts. Relates the medical terms to the structure and functional pathology of diseases and current medical procedures. Emphasizes word usage, abbreviations, pronunciation and spelling.
Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B.

HSC-162 | Health Support Professionals | 3.5 credits
Provides an introduction to key skills needed to be a direct care worker. Includes core, personal activities of daily living, and health monitoring and maintenance. Requires passage of CORE by 70 percent or better to proceed into the HMM (Health Monitoring & Maintenance) and PADL (Personal Activities of Daily Living) modules.
Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B.

HSC-168 | Nurse Aide (CNA Certification) | 3.5 credits
Meets the training requirements for nurse aides in long-term care facilities. Emphasizes achieving basic knowledge and demonstrating skills to provide safe, effective care.
Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B.

HSC-205 | Exploration of Healthcare Careers | 3 credits

Explores all aspects of health care and careers in the field. Focuses on understanding basic wellness, and growth and development of the human being. Includes field trips to an emergency room at a local hospital, a surgical center, a free healthcare clinic, a dental clinic, an outpatient OT/PT/speech center, administrative offices at a nursing home and a laboratory. Covers the past, present and future of health care.
Arts & Sciences Elective Code: B.


Career and Transfer Opportunities

Certification opportunities: State of Iowa Nurse Aide Certification Exam (CNA) and American Heart Association CPR

The Patient Care Academy Program can lead students to college certificates such as diplomas, associate's, bachelor's and graduate degrees. Examples of college majors include, but are not limited to: Nursing, Athletic Training, Pre-Med, Exercise Science, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Radiology and Respiratory Therapy.

If you are planning to transfer to a four-year college or university after attending Kirkwood, specific transfer information can be found at