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What to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Athens AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Athens AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA schools you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Athens AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.