Choosing a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) program can be difficult. You have two main options: online or traditional campus. This covers the actual classwork and quizzes part, but clinical and lab training have to be done in person.
How do you know whether to take an online course for the writing portion, or do the whole thing in a classroom? How do you know that the class itself is a good one, either way? Part of it is about the flexibility you need. But there are other concerns.
The Difference Between Programs
Most CNA training programs are close to the same. They require a certain number of hours for completion, and then you have to sit the state exam. A number of CNA’s will choose the program that is most likely to get them passed this exam, and that can be a mistake.
The written and exam part is usually easy. Instead, CNA trainees struggle with the skills and practical portion, where they show what they have learned in a clinical setting. Even some trained nurses can struggle with this kind of practical exam.
To get around this, you are better off looking for a program that puts a decent emphasis on lab and clinic time. Or that uses practical skill use and hands-on training during the classroom portion, rather than only putting you in a room with a book to learn through reading.
All CNA programs are between six and eight weeks. Try to find one that has three or more weeks dedicated to practical work. These are more likely to prepare you for life on the floor, and get you through the more difficult parts of the exams.
Look At Student Pass Rate
When looking at accredited CNA programs, you should only go with state approved institutions. These will have statistical data available for you to see, including the pass/fail rate of students. Too low, and the instruction is probably subpar. Too high, and the program may be too easy. A median range aiming on the higher end is just right.
You should also see the pass/fail rate of the exam itself from students from that school. Some will pass the actual course and get the credit, and then fail the exam. When this happens in high numbers, you know they were not properly prepared for the test.
Becoming a CNA is a great career move! Just make sure you pick the right school.