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NATCEP Virtual Theory/Classroom Instruction Requirements

The Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE), Bureau of Career and Technical Education, is responsible to approve nurse aide training programs in Pennsylvania (PA) including the curriculum, instructional staff and program delivery.  Should an approved nurse aide training and competency evaluation program (NATCEP) or applicant for a new program wish to deliver the theory/classroom component in a web-based/online/blended (virtual) format, the program must meet all the requirements as established for a NATCEP.  The calendar and lesson plans must include the PA model curriculum objectives, instructional methodology, assessment of learning and completion of all required documentation.

Nursing procedures/skills are a critical component of a NATCEP and if presented virtually, the student is required to competently demonstrate all skills in person in the presence of a PDE-approved instructor in an approved laboratory setting prior to resident contact, i.e., clinical.  

The Commonwealth/PDE does not endorse or approve any specific vendor nurse aide training program.  PDE will pilot virtual synchronous theory/classroom delivery that clearly instructs the PA Curriculum Content as required by federal OBRA of 1987 and PA Act 14 of 1997. 

To obtain PDE-approval for virtual, synchronous delivery of the theory/classroom component of a PDE-approved nurse aide training program, the NATCEP must: 

    1. Submit a Report of Change for approval of virtual theory curriculum delivery to

    2. Submit for approval a NATCEP program calendar and lesson plans that incorporate virtual learning.  If using an online vendor nurse aide training, the program's calendar and lesson plans must clearly indicate the PA curriculum objectives that are not covered by the online vendor and indicate how instruction of those PA objectives will be incorporated into the delivery.

    3. Ensure that all students will log on to the virtual presentation at the same time as their PDE-approved NATCEP instructor (synchronous) in order to verify required attendance and ensure questions are addressed in an efficient and timely manner.

    4. Identify theory/classroom hours for the introduction of principles related to the skill including any virtual teaching/presentation of skills, and incorporate any videos into the section in which the theory/classroom instruction introduces the principles related to the skill.

    5. Maintain attendance records that provide evidence of each student's completion of the approved virtual theory/classroom, and in-person lab and clinical hours.

    6. Complete an individualized Performance Checklist for each student.

    7. Maintain evidence of periodic assessment and test integrity.

    8. Maintain evidence of each student's demonstrated competency of each skill in the presence of a PDE-approved instructor, and ensure that no student will perform any skill/task in clinical for which they have not first been deemed competent by the PDE-approved instructor, as required by federal OBRA.

    9. New programs must offer the PA Model Curriculum face-to-face and in compliance for at least the first two (2) years before requesting or being approved for virtual theory/classroom delivery.