Be an Apprentice

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college courses
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of on-the-job training

If you’re ready to kickstart your career in aging services, the Health Support Specialist (HSS) Registered Apprenticeship program is a new opportunity for professional caregivers.

Your courses are taught by experts in aging services, readily available to answer questions and provide support as you complete the program. Classes include instruction in culinary care, activities, memory care, environmental services, physiological and psychosocial care. You’ll also have a mentor at your organization to guide you through your 2,500 apprenticeship hours.

One step at a time, online instruction and flexible hours allow you to complete the program at your own pace, while gaining new skills that you can immediately apply to your work caring for older adults.

Think you’re up to it?

Eligibility

  • 18 years or older
  • High school diploma/GED
  • Nursing Assistant, Registered
  • Support from employer

How Does it Work?

Apprentices begin by enrolling in courses at Ridgewater College and are able to complete all seven courses and apprenticeship hours within one to two years.

  • 7 courses (9 credits) online instruction
  • 2,500 hours of on-the-job training
I think the HSS program is wonderful. I think if you commit to the program and the assignments, there is so much useful knowledge to be learned. The classes are college level, so expect to work hard, learn much and become an educated and enriched caregiver to our beloved residents.

– Amanda Gruber, Health Support Specialist – Three Links Care Center, Northfield, MN

Curriculum

Introduction to the Health Support Specialist – 3 credits

Orients students to the role of the Health Support Specialist, focusing on the history of aging services, concepts of Culture Change and person-directed living

Meaningful Activities – 1 credit

Teaches fundamental skills, knowledge and resources for engaging residents in meaningful activity programs during daily caregiving routines

Culinary Care – 1 credit

Provides students with basic culinary information to help them purchase, plan, prepare and deliver a nutritional and enjoyable diet for each resident

Environmental Services – 1 credit

Covers the fundamentals of providing a clean and safe environment, including housekeeping practices, laundering procedures and regulation compliance

Memory Care – 1 credit

Explores the aging process as it relates to memory loss and/or dementia-related diagnosis and introduces methods for involving the family in decisions that provide purposeful living for residents

Psychosocial Care – 1 credit

Examines the emotional, social and spiritual dimensions of holistic care as an HSS and how each can be influenced by transition and loss

Physiological Care – 1 credit

Introduces students to the basic body structure and function during the aging process, while identifying strategies for managing healthy aging and physiological alternations

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Read the full course descriptions and lists of work processes (apprenticeship hours) in the HSS Standards of Apprenticeship

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Meet Your Instructors

Kerry Keenan
Century College

Muriel Kruggel
Hennepin Technical College

Julie Reginek
Ridgewater College

Psychosocial Care

Culinary Care
Environmental Services

Introduction to HSS
Meaningful Activities
Memory Care
Physiological Care

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Getting Started

Online Class
Once you have been approved by your organization to become a Health Support Specialist apprentice, follow these steps to enroll for next semester:

  1. Apply online to Ridgewater College (this requires a $20 application fee, high school/GED transcript and Accuplacer exam)
  2. Complete any other requirements determined by your employer
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Questions?

Talk to us, or download the brochure: Becoming an HSS Apprentice.

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Contact Us

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