WINNIPEG -- Red River College is teaming up with the provincial government to offer a course to teach healthcare workers and students how to properly perform a nose swab test for COVID-19.

The micro-credential course would be able to be finished in five hours.

"Protecting the health and safety of Manitobans remains our number one priority," said Premier Brian Pallister in a news release on Wednesday. "Our government is expanding our COVID-19 testing capacity to reduce wait times to get a test. This partnership with Red River College will enable us to provide essential training opportunities to highly skilled healthcare workers, who can now join our efforts to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our communities."

For students at the college that want to take the program, it will be offered tuition-free and theory will be offered through online delivery and hands-on training.

The course is open to any student who is in at least their second year of registered nursing, licensed practical nursing, psychiatric nursing, or medicine at the University of Manitoba, which includes medical students and physician assistant students.

It is also open to students enrolled in approved paramedicine or respiratory therapy programs.

For those not in school, the course can be done by people who are in registered nursing, licensed practical nursing, psychiatric nursing, or medicine, and they can take the course even if they are outside of Manitoba or Canada, as long as they provide valid credentials.

It can also be taken by healthcare aides, medical laboratory technologists, occupational therapists, physiotherapists, and pharmacists.

"The micro-credential will provide a direct pathway to employment at a COVID-19 testing site. Anyone who completes this course will be added to a pool of qualified candidates who can support testing sites in Winnipeg and across Manitoba where needed," said the province and the college in a joint statement.

The college said it will train up to 30 students a week and will add capacity when it is needed.

Fred Meier, who is the president and CEO of Red River College, said the school is happy to support the fight against COVID-19.

"As the college continues to evolve the ways it delivers education in the face of COVID-19, we are proud to offer this new micro-credential that will prepare our front line and students from a variety of healthcare programs to help reduce the spread of the virus," he said.

Registration for the class is now open and the first intake will happen on Oct. 19, with new intakes being offered weekly.