Oakton awards Basic Nurse Assistant Training (BNAT) Certificates to nearly 80 high school students

Nearly 80 students from five local high schools participated in the BNAT program this year.
Des Plaines, Ill. (May 30, 2023) - A record number of local high school students have taken their first step toward a rewarding healthcare career by completing Oakton College’s Basic Nurse Assistant Training (BNAT) early college certificate program. Oakton recognized 78 BNAT completers from five area high schools during a pinning and graduation ceremony – a symbolic welcoming of newly graduated or soon-to-be-graduated nurses into the nursing profession – at Oakton’s Des Plaines campus on May 24.

“This achievement will benefit students whether they plan to seek immediate employment, continue their studies in health careers or choose another path,” said Cindy Nijmeh, Oakton College senior manager of Early College. “Congratulations to all graduates, and best of luck in your future endeavors.”

The BNAT certificate is the first step toward entering Oakton’s Registered Nursing Program and is an entry point to other healthcare careers. Completers are currently enrolled at high schools in Maine and Niles Townships, including Maine East, 23 completers; Maine South, 14 completers; Maine West, 12 completers; Niles North, 14 completers; and Niles West, 15 completers.

“We look forward to expanding this program and opportunity to other high schools beginning with Evanston Township High School in fall 2024,” added Nijmeh.

In addition to students’ family and friends, Oakton and high school staff and faculty, the pinning ceremony was attended by Shawn Messmer, Ed.D., assistant superintendent for Curriculum & Innovation for Maine Township High Schools, and Sandra Arreguín, Ed.D., assistant superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction for Niles Township High Schools.

Oakton offers two tracks for students to earn early college credit while still in high school through the College’s Early College Program, which includes the Dual Credit and Concurrent Enrollment Programs. In the Dual Credit Program, Oakton collaborates with partner high schools across the district to offer college-level classes to eligible, driven high school students.

The dual credit courses are taught by Oakton-approved high school teachers in high school classrooms. Oakton's Concurrent Enrollment Program allows high school juniors and seniors to take one college class per semester on campus or online. To learn about our Dual Credit and Concurrent Enrollment programs, please visit www.oakton.edu/earlycollege.