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Things to Ask CNA Programs

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Fort Smith AR area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Fort Smith AR 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fort Smith AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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 prerequisites for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Fort Smith AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.