The GACTC has institutional accreditation through Middle States Association of Secondary Schools

  • The Practical Nursing Program is a comprehensive, one year educational program that prepares graduates for employment as Licensed Practical Nurses in a wide variety of health-care settings. There is also a two-year part-time program.

    The full-time program, which operates from August to August encompasses classroom and clinical instruction in all phases of direct patient care, including dispensing medication and IV Therapy. At the program's, completion, graduates are equipped to take the National Exam for Licensure.

    The part-time program, which operates from September to August for two years encompasses classroom and clinical instruction in all phases of direct patient care, including dispensing medication and IV Therapy. At the programs, completion, graduates are equipped to take the National Exam for Licensure.

    Applicants are accepted into the Fall Full-time Program from January through July of each year and the Part-time program from January through July every other year.  Applications can be obtained through the Practical Nursing Office,  by calling 814-946-8490, or downloading from this website.

    Financial Aid is available to help meet tuition and other course fees.

    REQUIREMENTS:

    1. Graduate of an approved high school or G.E.D. equivalent. (An official copy of high school transcript and/or GED test scores required)

    2. An acceptable PA and Federal Criminal Record Check and a PA Child Abuse History Clearance. Certain instances prohibit the State Board of Nursing from issuing a license to individuals convicted of a felony. The Board shall not issue a license or certiciate to an applicant who has been convicted of a felonious act prohibited by the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64), know as "The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act," or convicted of a felony relating t a controlled substance in a court of law of the United States or any other stae, territory or country unless certain criterion have been met. Please call the school for more information.

    3. Satisfactory completion of pre-admission aptitude test. (ATI) This test is given during the months of October through July each year in the Practical Nursing Department. Scores are valid for a period of 2 years.

    4. Submission of three confidential references. (Forms will be supplied at the time of application processing and approval). It is required that the evaluator send the reference directly to the school in an effort to maintain confidentiality.

    5. Personal interview with faculty member.

    6. Evidence of good physical, dental and mental health. (Determined by pre-admission examination by a physician, dentist, laboratory testing, drug screening and current immunization status). (The student shall be required to perform the essential functions of the employment position. Please call the school if more information is needed).

    7. American heart Association BLS CPR Course Completion Card current through enrollment. (No exceptions). (Does not need to be submitted until after acceptance in the program).

    8. Student must have evidence of U. S. Citizenship or legal immigration status. We do not enroll students with F-1 immigration status.

    * The faculty reserves the right to determine the standards to which requirements are met.

    Each student assumes complete responsibility for HOUSING and TRANSPORTATION. Students must abide by the school dress code. See Student handbook for further information.

  • APPLICATION PROCEDURE/FEES

    One class is admitted each August to the full-tme one-year program, and one class is admitted every two years to the part-time, two year program with the program starting on even numbered years. The full-time program is predominantly Monday through Friday, daytime hours. The part-time program is predominantly evening and weekend hours, and on rare occasions, a day rotation is required.

    Contact the Practical Nursing Department for an application packet. 

    To be considered for admission for the Practical Nursing program, prospective students must complete the following:

    1. Application for Admission, submit all forms to GACTC Practical Nursing Department 1500 Fourth Ave, Altoona, PA  16602.
    2. Offical copy of applicant's final high school transcript, documentation of completion of a high school equivalency (i.e. GED), or equivalent foreign education as verified by a GACTC-approved credential evaluation service. Applicants who apply during their senior year of high school must provide an official copy of their final transcript following graduation from high school.
    3. PA Criminal Record information: Applicants must submit a Criminal Background History from the PA State Police. Applicants may request the background record at https://portal.castlebranch.com/GR37 , package name GR37 (if applicable). The fee is $39.00 (subject to change). GACTC reserves the right to deny applicants into the program based on the results of the criminal background check. GACTC reserves the right to accept an applicant with a criminal background based on the severity, date(s), and frequency of the conviction(s).
    4. PA Child Abuse Clearnace: Applicants must submit a PA Child ABuse Clearnace. To request this clearance, please visit https://www.compass.state.pa.us/cwis/public/home to create an individual account. Please follow the instructions for the PA Child Abuse History Clearance. The purpose of the clearance is School Employee. When your report is ready, (you will receive an email when it is ready), please provide the Practical Nursing office a copy. There is a $13.00 fee for the PA Child Abuse History Clearnace. The GACTC reserves the right to deny applicants entrance into the program based on results of the PA Child Abuse Clearance.
    5. Federal Ciminal History Fingerprinting: Applicants must submit a Federal Criminal History Fingerprinting, please visit https://www.identogo.com/. There is a $23.85 fee. Please follow the steps on the website. Click on "get fingerprinted", select fingerprinting service by state (PA), click on "digital fingerprinting", and enter service cide (1KG6NX). You must have a current email address to allow correspondence. Click on "schedule manage appointment", choose form of Identification you will be providing. Visit Identogo center to complete fingerprinting (pay here). Bring results to the Practical Nursing office.
    6. Once application is completed and processed the applicant will be provided information to register and pay for the required pre-admission test.
    7. Upon successful completion of the pre-admission test, applicant will be scheduled for an interview with the PN coordinator or faculty member. Applicant may also request a meeting with the Financial Aid Office at this time.
    8. Upon admission into the GACTC Practical Nursing Program, a $100 registration fee will be required. This fee is non-refundable and guarantees the student's seat in the program.

    ADVANCED PLACEMENT

    Applicants who have successfully completed courses in Anatomy & Physiology, Fundamentals of Nursing, Pediatrics, Obstetrics, and/or Medical-Surgical Nursing I, and meet select admission requirements may qualify for advanced palcement through challenge exams. Such courses must have been taken within the past two years and a grade of C or better attained.

    Further information can be obtained from the Practical Nursing department.


    HEALTH PROGRAM

    PRE-ADMISSION: Dental, and a complete physical examination are required, including 2-Step P.P.D. testing, complete blood count, urinalysis, and documentation of immunity to Rubella. Immunizations are recommended against tetanus, and Hapatitis B.

    SCHOOL YEAR: Students must maintain good health in order to meet the objectives of the program. The Practical Nursing Program supports health promotion and a smoke-free environment both in the school and clinical areas. In order to meet the program competencies, and for the successful completion of the objectives for each course, a student must be able to perform essential cognitive and physical functions. The faculty reserves the right to dismiss at anytime a student whose health, work, or conduct demonstrates a lack of ability to maintain satisfactory achievement of course/program objectives.

    ATTENDANCE

    Students must attend and be punctual for all planned classes and clinical experiences in order to attain program objectives. An attendance policy is strongly adhered to. Students must complete 1,500 program hours.

    PROGRAM CALENDAR

    The full-time Practical Nursing Program Consists of 12 consecutive months of classroom and clinical preparation. Classes begin in August and run through August of the following year, with four weeks of vacation and approximately ten holidays scheduled throughout the school calendar.

    The part-time Practical Nursing Program consists of 24 consecutive months of classroom and clinical preparation. Classes begin in September and run through August at the conclusion of two years, with eight weeks of vacation and approximately twenty holidays scheduled throughout the school calendar.

    The full-time program is divided into four, 12-week Levels. The part-time program is divided into eight, 12-week levels. Each level combines classroom education with appropriate clinical experience for a total of 1,564 program hours.

    ACADEMIC POLICIES

    Course grades are calculated on a percentage basis. All courses must be completed with a 75% test average or higher in order to advance to the next level. Clinical performance is evaluated on satisfactory/unsatisfactory scale. Students must receive a satisfactory clinical evaluation by the end of each level in order to advance to the next level. The curriculum must be completed within a 2-year frame or the entire curriculum must be repeated. Further information related to promotion may be found in the student handbook.

    SAFETY AND SECURITY

    The campus of the GACTC includes the main building and surrounding parking lots. The school strives to provide a safe environment for all students, employees and visitors. All suspicious or criminal activities and emergencies should be reported immediately to any member of the school faculty, staff or administration. Emergencies can also be reported by dialing 911.

    An elaborate fire alarm system is maintained and fire drills are routinely conducted. School premises are monitored continuously by a full-time security guard and surveillance cameras throughout the interior and exterior of the building. Security personnel are posted at the main entrances of the building. In addition, a security guard patrols the interior and exterior of the school periodically throughout the day from 6-10p.m. each evening that night school is in session.

    All school doors are locked from 10 p.m. - 6 a.m. Parking lots remain well lighted at all times.

    DRUG-FREE WORKPLACE

    It is the policy of the GACTC that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited on the property of the school and on non-school property used in the performance of school services. Random drug searches are routinely conducted within the school building and on vehicles parked on school property. The Practical Nursing Program of the GACTC subscribes to the Random Selection Procedure for drug testing in accordance with the parent institution. If a situation exists whereby a student is suspected of being under the influence of illegal drugs or alcohol, reliable methods of testing will be conducted.

    Any student found in violation of this prohibition shall be subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal.

    As a condition of the school employment/enrollment, every student shall abide by the terms of this policy and notify their supervisor of any criminal drug statute conviction.

    This Policy Statement is adopted in accordance with the requirements of federal law, the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988.

    Additional information on the health hazards associated with drug and alcohol use or on drug and alcohol treatment services, is available at the school.

    Students are required to sign a consent to test form. Failure to do so will result in program dismissal.

    TUITION

    Tuition is determined annually based on the operational cost of the Practical Nursing program and on state reimbursement and guidelines. The Commonwealth presently contributes a pre-determined portion of each student’s tuition. Tuition for the full-time 2020-2021 Program is $14,285. There is an additional estimated cost of $3,152 for books, uniforms, shoes, liability and accident insurance, graduation costs and other miscellaneous expenses associated with the program. Tuition for the part-time 2020-2022 Program is $14,765. There is an additonal extimated cost of $4,062 for books, uniforms, shoes, liability and accident isurance, graduation costs and other miscellaneous expenses associated with the program. The cost for subsequent school years may be obtained by contacting the school. 


    The full-time program of study consists of a full program year divided into three (3) payment periods. Each payment period is approximately 1/3 of the scheduled program year. The part-time program of study consists of two program years divided into (3) payment periods. Full tuition payment for each payment period is due before two weeks prior to the first day of class for that payment period. If desired, students may prepay for the entire school year prior to beginning Fall term. Tuition is adjusted accordingly for half-time and advanced placement students.

    Students with delinquent accounts over 10 days are subject to suspension from school until the account is paid. The school reserves the right to withhold transcripts and services to any current or former students with an unpaid financial obligation. 

    Financial assistance is accepted for tuition payment upon receipt of appropriate written notification of such approval. This must be submitted to the school according to the payment of schedule.


    REFUND POLICY

    Refunds are based on payment period costs and are calculated on a pro-rata basis. One hundred percent (100%) of tuition will be refunded if a student withdraws prior to the first day of class.  After classes begin, refunds will be pro-rata. Tuition amount retained is rounded up to the nearest 10% of completed hours. After 60% of the payment period is completed, no refund is given.

    The student should officially terminate or withdraw from the program in writing. Upon withdrawal/termination, any refund due will be calculated according to the last day of attendance. Refund Distribution: All refunds will be made within thirty days of withdrawal or termination. If a refund is due a student under the institution’s refund policy, and the student has received Title IV aid as part of the student’s financial aid package, the refund will be distributed in a specified order of priority.

    Refunds will first be made to the lender of a Title IV loan to reduce the loan principal. Second (if applicable), the refund will be applied to reduce Title IV grant amounts received. Third (if applicable), the refund will be made to the sponsoring agency, student, or parent.

    GRADUATION

    A diploma is presented at graduation.  In order to graduate from the Practical Nursing Program, the student must:

    1. achieve a minimum of 75% exam average in all theory courses
    2. satisfactorily meet all clinical objectives
    3. pay all graduation fees and outstanding debts
    4. complete 1,500 program hours

    Graduates are eligible to apply for the National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nurses.

    The Blair County Career Link collaborates with the Practical Nursing program in assisting with placement of individuals upon graduation.

    Certain instances prohibit the State Board of Nursing from issuing a license to individuals convicted of a felony. The Board shall not issue a license or certificate to an applicant who has been convicted of a felonious act prohibited by the act of April 14, 1972 (P.L. 233, No. 64), known as “The Controlled Substance, Drug, Device and Cosmetic Act,” or convicted of a felony relating to a controlled substance in a court of law of the United States or any other state, territory, or country, unless:

    1. at least ten (10) years have elapsed from the date of conviction;
    2. the applicant satisfactorily demonstrates to the Board that he/she has made significant progress in personal rehabilitation since the conviction such that licensure of the applicant should not be expected to create a substantial risk of harm to the health and safety of patients or the public or a substantial risk of further criminal violations; and
    3. the applicant otherwise satisfies the qualifications contained in or authorized by this act

    As used in this section, the term “convicted” shall include a judgment, an admission of guilt, or a plea of nolo contendere. An applicant’s statement on the application declaring the absence of a conviction shall be deemed satisfactory evidence of the absence of a conviction, unless the Board ha some evidence to the contrary.

    For further information or to obtain a copy of this law, contact the Pennsylvania State Board of Nursing

    ADVANCE PLACEMENT

    The Office of Employment Security cooperates with the Practical Nursing program in assisting with placement of individuals upon graduation. GACTC graduating classes experience a 100% employment rate within three months following graduation.

    VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION:

    Funding for qualified students possessing certain disabilities.

    Other funding sources periodically become available to select groups of individuals, such as displaced homemakers, single parents, non-traditional students, G.E.D. recipients, members of certain organizations. For further information on any of these funding sources listed, contact the financial aid administrator in the Practical Nursing Department.

    Satisfactory Progress: In order to maintain Title IV assistance (grants and loans), a student must maintain regular attendance and make satisfactory progress, as previously described under “academic policies.” Failure to do so will result in termination of financial assistance.

    Verification: Students who apply for PELL grants and/or Stafford loans may need to complete a verification process as stipulated by the U. S. Department of Education. Verification requires documentation (submitted to the school) to check the accuracy of the information provided on financial aid applications. Please see the Financial Aid Information Sheet for additional information on verification.

    The GACTC reserves the right to alter the courses, regulations and schedule of charges defined within as necessary. It also reserves the right to terminate or renew the registration of a student for reasons in the best interest of the institution

    Can’t attend full-time? Call for information on our part-time program.

    STUDENT SUPPORT SERVICES help students adjust to and succeed in training by providing comprehensive academic assistance and advice through the following services:

    • Counseling on concerns affecting academic performance
    • Tutorial Assistance
    • Assistance for students with disabilities

    DISABILITY SERVICES

    Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), identify a person with a disability as anyone with a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activity such as walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, working, or learning. Persons who have a history of a disability are also covered by the regulations.

    It is the student's responsibility to identify his/her disability to the Director of Continuing Education and Request Accommodations. Any student request or inquiry regarding program accommodations for disabilities should be made as early as possible after admission into the program, or even before a student contemplates enrollment. If a student does not seek an accommodation for a disability, the Director of Continuing Education and instructors will assume the student is able to complete the program requirement without the need for accommodations.