Are you planning to enter a CNA program in your state, but are confused about how to find the right CNA program? Are you unsure what to look for in a CNA program before you enroll?
This article is all about how to find the right CNA program that can help you establish your career as a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). You will also learn what to look for in the CNA program before deciding if it is for you.
Finding the Right CNA Program
When you are looking for a CNA school, it is important to look for a school and a program that will suit all your academic needs. This might sound like a huge task, but here are some key factors you should consider when you look for a CNA program.
Start by making a list of all the schools that offer CNA programs in your location. Once the list of schools is ready, narrow down the search by saving only the schools or programs that best fit your academic needs and expectations. Make the initial list of schools on the following details:
- Schedule of the program – Day/Evening/Weekday/Weekend.
- Online program/On-campus program.
- Duration of the program.
- Affordability of the program.
- Reputation of the school that offers the program.
Once the list is ready, here are further details you should check on before enrolling in the program. Let’s now discuss some of the details you can consider before enrolling in the right CNA program.
- Accreditation and Approvals.
- Courses Offered.
- Tuition Fee.
- Training Facilities.
- Location of the School.
- Career Assistance and Career Path.
Accreditation and Approvals
The first factor you should consider when you are looking for the right CNA program is accreditation and approvals it has. When the school is accredited, that means the school has met certain standards that are required to train and educate their students.
Look for schools that are reputable and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) and the Commission on Collegiate Nursing and Education (CCNE). Accreditations are essential standards set for nursing schools that ensure you get the best education from accredited schools. The school should also be accredited by the National Accrediting Agency and approved by your State’s Board of Nursing.
The second most important factor you should consider when looking for the right CNA program is courses offered by the school for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). You may also check if the school offers online or on-campus courses for the program you want to enroll in.
Few schools require students to have certifications on certain courses during enrollment. For example, most CNA programs require their students to have CPR certifications. Few CNA programs have the CPR certifications included as a part of the CNA program.
It is important to note what the training and certifications that will be offered are, along with the CNA program. If the school doesn’t offer it with the program, check if they offer it separately.
It is necessary to check if the school offers CNA exam preparatory courses. Most of the CNA programs offer CNA exam preparatory courses, but a few do not. If you wish to specialize as a CNA, you should look for courses on specialization offered by the school. Courses, such as geriatric care, phlebotomy and home healthcare, and hospice care are specialization courses that can broaden the employment possibilities for you after graduation.
Tuition Fee and Financial Assistance
The third most important factor to consider when you look for the right CNA program is the financial assistance offered by the school and the tuition fee for the program.
The tuition fee differs from school to school and is based on many factors. A few of the factors are:
- If the school is a private or public school.
- If you are an in-state or out-of-state student.
Most of the schools offer financial assistance to students who qualify for financial aid. They also offer scholarships for students to help them cope up with their finances. Scholarship policies differ from school to school, so it is better to enquire about the type of scholarship and financial assistance offered by the school before enrollment.
The fourth most important factor to consider when selecting a school is if the school offers training facilities for their students. The most important factor is hands-on experience, which is required as a Certified Nursing Assistant in health care services.
Also, make sure that the school offers training and is affiliated with a hospital, a health care center, or a nursing home. Being affiliated with such centers helps students practice their CNA skills and gain hand-on experience.
Each state has different training requirements to certify someone as a Certified Nursing Assistant. The Federal government has set a training requirement that a qualified CNA should have at least 91 hours of training, 16 hours of which, should be trained under a supervised clinical environment.
Location of the School
The fifth most important factor to consider while choosing a school is where the school is located. If you prefer not to travel long distances, you should look for a school that is close to your area. It is also necessary to consider the size of the school, as some people prefer to study at smaller schools to have the opportunity to get individual attention.
You can also check if the school offers online Certified Nursing Assistant courses that can better fit into your schedule. Some schools offer both online and on-campus courses, while others offer only on-campus courses. You will have to attend on-site clinical training in either case.
Career Assistance and Career Path
The last factor that you should consider while selecting the right CNA program is if the school offers career assistance to their students. Most schools offer career assistance to their students, but some do not. Career assistance helps you find job opportunities and job availability in your area.
Career path is another important factor to be aware of as a Certified Nursing Assistant. CNAs go by different titles such as:
- Home Health Aide.
- Personal Care Assistant.
- Certified Nursing Assistant.
- Patient Care Technician.
The title may vary in each state, but the roles and responsibilities of a Certified Nursing Assistant remains the same.
CNAs work in the following place:
- Private Homes.
- Adult Daycares.
- Assisted Living Facilities.
- Nursing Homes.
The roles and responsibilities of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) might vary according to the nature of the job.
The most crucial part of starting your career as a Certified Nursing Assistant is choosing the right CNA program. Researching these factors when looking for a program will help to narrow your list. Choosing the right program in a reputable school can help you build your career as a skilled and qualified Certified Nursing Assistant in your state.
If you are passionate about becoming a Certified Nursing Assistant in your state, practice our free CNA practice tests.
How long does it take to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)?
The duration might vary depending on the state and organization. The average time taken to become a Certified Nursing Assistant takes anywhere from four to twelve weeks for most training programs.
How do you become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)?
There are a few requirements to become a Certified Nursing Assistant. They are the following:
- You have a high school diploma or GED.
- You must complete a state-approved CNA training program.
- You must pass a state-approved CNA certification exam.
- You must complete the in-person clinical requirements.
Can I get my CNA certification online?
It is difficult to find online certification courses for a CNA program because of the hands-on training requirements for the clinical section. Some colleges offer online courses for CNA training with in-person clinical training. The courses offered are accredited and have the teaching requirements that meet the respective state’s health and nursing standards.