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What to Ask CNA Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense 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 final choice, 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 certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Flagstaff AZ area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Flagstaff AZ 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 considering 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Flagstaff AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.