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Questions to Ask CNA Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Bessemer AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Bessemer 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 programs you are considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Bessemer AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Bessemer AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.