What to Look for in a Nursing Assistant Program

There are many factors to consider when choosing the right nursing school. You want to pursue a program that will meet all of your needs, whether lifestyle or financial, as well as your career goals. This is a long-term decision, one that will impact your career path and your future success. How can you assure you are making the right choice?

If you are looking to become a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA, or Certified Nursing Aide) in Connecticut, you are in the right place. As a leading CNA program in the state, Stone Academy has outlined the top five features to look for in a nursing assistant program.

1.  Flexibility

When choosing a CNA program, it is important to find one that will work on your schedule (rather than choosing a schedule you’d have to work for). For example, if you are working full- or part-time, you may be limited to taking classes during certain hours of the day. Ask each prospective nursing assistant program about their schedule options. At Stone Academy, for example, you will can choose from several different course schedules. Here, you can work towards your CNA certification on a:

  • Day Schedule (Monday through Friday, 8am to 2:30pm)
  • Evening Schedule (Monday through Thursday, 5pm to 9:30pm)
  • Weekend Schedule (Saturdays, 8am to 4:30pm)

The type of schedule you choose will also impact the pacing of your program. Our nursing assistant program can run anywhere from four to 16 weeks.

2.  Pace of Program

Speaking of pacing, this is another important factor to look for in your nursing assistant program. As you may already know, becoming a CNA is one of the fastest routes to a career in the healthcare field. But what does that mean, exactly? How fast is that route? In general, CNA programs will take between four and 16 weeks to complete. The State of Connecticut specifically requires that a nursing assistant program is at least 100 hours in duration. In addition, prospective CNAs must also complete 16 hours of clinicals (direct patient care) in a practical healthcare environment.

Stone Academy’s CNA program is 125-hours of on- and off-site training, and can be completed at the pace you choose. If you select our Day Schedule, for example, you can finish your coursework in as few as four weeks. Meaning that, in just four weeks’ time, you can be in and working as a CNA!

3.  A Varied Curriculum

Although nursing assistant programs are short in length, you can expect to learn a lot from the right program. As you research your prospective schools, be sure to ask about the CNA courses you will take. Look for a program that offers a varied curriculum and will teach you how to work in a variety of different care settings (long-term care, home care, hospitals, and more). It is also important to look for a CNA training program that emphasizes the 25 traditional nursing aide skills and includes a clinical component. These are required by the state of Connecticut, and will be evaluated in part with your certification exam.

Stone Academy’s CNA training is designed to introduce students to specialized healthcare. We prepare students for employment in a range of settings, including nursing homes, long-term care facilities, hospitals, and rehabilitation centers. In our program, students learn the 25 CNA skills as well as other nursing competencies: taking vital signs, emergency procedures, communication, and more.

4.  Hands-On Experience

In Connecticut, students in nursing assistant programs must complete at least 16 hours of hands-on, clinical rotations in a practical setting. The state specifies that nursing assistant programs must touch on the following before a student can interact directly with patients:

  • Communication and interpersonal skills
  • Resident rights and ethics
  • Residents’ independence
  • Safety and emergency procedures, such as the Heimlich Maneuver
  • Infection control

These essential learnings, combined with direct patient care experience, will position you for a successful career as a CNA nursing assistant. At Stone Academy, your success is our priority. That is why, prior to graduation, you will be given the opportunity to practice your clinical nursing skills in an active and thriving medical facility in Connecticut. You will work alongside trained registered nurses and showcase your learned nursing assistant skills. Not only are our clinical rotations a great experience for aspiring CNAs, they can also help you stand out to and connect with potential employers.

5.  Cost & Financial Aid

When researching nursing assistant programs in your area, cost will be a huge deciding factor. Tuition for CNA programs does vary school to school.

If you decide to pursue your CNA training at Stone Academy, you can rest assured that we offer the lowest-cost CNA program in Connecticut (less expensive than the American Red Cross!). Stone also offers a variety of financial aid programs in the form of grants and loans to eligible students, as well as a matching scholarship program, to help you afford the education you deserve.

Interested in starting your career at Stone Academy’s nursing assistant program? Call (800) 585-1315 or Click Here to request more information! You can also read about our other nursing programs in CT.