Questions to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have chosen 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 choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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. Aside from helping make sure that you get an excellent education and employment in Arizona, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Arizona 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 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Arizona medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Arizona hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.