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Things to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Anchorage AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Anchorage AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.