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Questions to Ask Certified Nursing Assistant Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the CNA certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education and employment in the Lakes AK area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Lakes AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Lakes AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Lakes AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.