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Questions to Ask CNA Colleges

Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.

  • 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education and employment in Alaska, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different 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 important that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Alaska 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 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 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 Alaska healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Alaska hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.