Start Your Health Care Career Here

The lower level at Cook County Higher Education is comprised almost entirely of a large classroom supporting health care education. The “Mark Abrahamson” room houses three hospital beds, CPR dummies, a hand-washing center, and other equipment necessary for teaching the most popular medical courses. We offer on site instruction in a variety of courses including Nursing Assistant and Home Health Aid, Trained Medication Administration, CPR, First Aid, and mentoring for taking the Nursing Assistant Test Out Exam.

Mark (Medical Class Instructor) has not only taught us all the basics of nursing but he has inspired us all to push past the basics and reach for more.

Previous Medical Student

By giving students the knowledge and opportunities to grow and improve their lives and economic status, by instilling the ethic of care, and by providing great care and treatment to patients, Mark’s influence makes Cook County a better place.

Medical Student

Mark (Medical Class Instructor) wholeheartedly throws himself into teaching new nurses and nursing assistants. His passion for caring for people and compassion for people makes Cook County a better place, by giving students the knowledge and opportunities to grow and better their lives and economic status, by instilling the ethic of care into those students, and for all the patients receiving great care and treatment from all the people Mark influenced. I am personally very grateful to Mark for taking time out of his busy life to work with me on my skills test-outs for the Itasca Practical Nursing program. I appreciate it more than words can express.

Previous Medical Student


You must obtain a State of Minnesota EMT certification in order to legally practice as an EMT.

Certification Criteria

  • 18 years old or older
  • High School diploma or a GED
  • Valid driver’s license
  • Proof of immunizations
  • Current CPR Healthcare Provider certification (which can be completed at CCHE)
  • Complete an Emergency Medical Technician Basic course
  • Pass the written and practical state examinations for EMT
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Register with the State of Minnesota


North Shore Health Ambulance Department has EMT/Labor Pool Positions available.  The starting wage is $17.92 per hour.  Under certain circumstances, North Shore Health will reimburse students for the cost of taking the EMT course. Please contact them for details at:


The Minnesota Department of Health maintains the Nursing Assistant Registry, which lists the names of individuals who have completed an approved nursing assistant training and testing program and meet state and federal requirements to work in nursing homes and certified boarding care homes.

Certification Criteria

  • Minimum age of 16 and currently enrolled in high school, high school graduate, or holding a GED
  • Pass background check (with fingerprinting)
  • Proof of a negative TB test (from within 6 months)
  • Proof of immunizations

OnTrack Nursing Assistant Class

Option 1: Cook County OnTrack Nursing Assistant Class
Offered at CCHE in conjunction with Mesabi Range College and North Shore Health. Interested in participating?
Contact Jon Moe at: or
CCHE Student Support Coordinator at

  • 35 hours of self-paced education via online training
  • 24 hours of hands-on training in a Skills Lab
  • 16 hours of Clinical Experience

Option 2: Nursing Assistant Course Through St. Scholastica
Sign up anytime (rolling enrollment)! Online and 4 in-person skills/clinical labs – Complete your Nursing Assistant training in as little as six weeks.

  • 44 hours of theory online: schedule on your own time/completed asynchronously – Needs to be completed prior to in person skills & clinical
  • 34 hours in person in Duluth or St. Cloud, two 8-hour days and two 9-hour days. Dates offered each month.

NA Testing Exam

NA Class and Test Reimbursable Expenses

Nursing Assistant Training & Paid Nursing Assistant Position

Once on the Employment Opportunities page, scroll down to see the “NA Student CC” position.

How to Stay on the Minnesota Nursing Assistant Registry
Nursing assistants must report their nursing assistant employment. You must perform independently at least eight (8) hours of paid nursing assistant duties every 24 months to stay on the Registry. (A 24 month lapse of employment will result in expired Registry status.) Tasks must be similar to those performed in a nursing home. Orientation and training will not be accepted.


Pharmacy Technician-in-Training – On-the-job Training Option

Licensed Option Certified Option
Required: Optional, but must be licensed
  • 240 Hours of Training
  • Register with State Board of Pharmacy
  • 240 Hours of Training
  • Pass Written Test

Training Requirements must be completed within 12 months after obtaining the technician registration number.

Registration Criteria
  • Age: 18 years of age at the time of registration
  • Education: Proof of High School diploma or GED
  • Pharmacy Technician Training: 240 hours in an approved Pharmacy within 12 months of registering
  • Continuing Education (CE): 20 hours of approved CE every two years
  • Pass a Criminal Background Check
Certification Criteria
  • All of the above, plus
  • Pass the written examination (PTCB or ExCPT)

Training Requirements must be completed within 12 months after obtaining the technician registration number.


Sawtooth Mountain Clinic (SMC) offers this hands-on education option when Pharmacy positions are available. Most applicants start in the Clerk role to get acquainted with the Pharmacy and move into the Technician-in-Training role shortly thereafter. The starting wage is $18.50 an hour. SMC will provide the hands-on technician training that is required as a paid, on-the-job training opportunity. If candidates are interested in becoming Certified, SMC will support (via schedule flexibility, paid training time, and test fees) the online education that would prepare someone for the written certification test.

For more info please contact or call 218-387-2330 ext. 143 and ask for Ellen.


Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) Apprenticeship – On-the-job Training

Certification Criteria:

  • Education: Proof of High School diploma or GED
  • Complete paid Sawtooth Mountian Clinic on-the-job and web-based MA training course
  • Ongoing continuing education (10 CE Credits required every 2 years)
  • Pass the written examination
  • Pass a criminal background check
  • Proof of immunizations
  • Current Basic Life Support (BLS) certification

Sawtooth Mountain Clinic Clinical Assistant/CCMA Apprenticeship Employment:

The basic duties of a Clinical Assistant/CCMA:

  • Prepare patients for provider office visit, greet and escort patients to the exam room
  • Assure smooth patient flow by prioritizing the following: rooming patients; taking appropriate patient histories, setting up room for anticipated procedures; sterilizing used instruments, anticipating provider’s needs; assisting providers during exams and procedures, and returning patient calls in a timely manner.
  • Documentation of information electronically in chart in an accurate, complete, and timely manner

During the 12-month program, an apprentice is a full-time employee at Sawtooth Mountain Clinic (SMC). While working at SMC, apprentices are trained in all on-the-job skills required to become a Medical Assistant (MA). At the same time, the apprentice completes a required online curriculum.

At the end of the 12 months, MA apprentices are eligible to take the Certified Clinical Medical Assistant (CCMA) exam. If passed, the apprentice becomes a Certified Medical Assistant (CMA).

The cost of the program (materials, class fee, and exam fee) is paid for entirely by Sawtooth Mountian Clinic.

The Minnesota Association of Community Health Centers (MNACHC) administers one cohort per year starting in January. The next cohort will begin in January 2024. SMC will begin recruiting for this cohort in the Fall of 2023 if there are open positions to fill.

Certification is through the National Healthcare Association: Medical Assistant Certification | CCMA (

For more info or to apply please contact or call 218-387-2330 ext. 143 and ask for Ellen.