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Things to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Decatur AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama 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 looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Decatur AL 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 colleges 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Decatur AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Decatur AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.