If you are looking to start a CNA school, there are quite a few things to consider along this venture. Many people want to know the profitability of a CNA school. How much the tuition should be? Or where they should place their school? In my 5 years of starting CNA schools all over the nation, I have mastered the top 5 items every CNA school owner should consider during the startup process and they go much deeper than the items listed above.
- Who can teach the CNA program?
Many are unaware that CNA programs are federally regulated. This means that the federal government has predetermined certain rules and regulations that every CNA school must abide by. These rules and regulations have been interpreted by every state a little differently. However, the federal government states that every CNA program must have a program coordinator. The program coordinator must be a registered nurse with at least two years of experience, and one of those years of experience must be in long-term care, providing care for the elderly. Additionally, the government states that in order for one to teach CNA, they must be a nurse with at least one year of experience. Every state has interpreted the term nurse differently (RN vs LPN) and some states have even placed more nursing experience requirements than what the federal government has placed. To learn more about who can teach CNAs be sure to visit your state’s department of health or board of nursing for more specific information.
- Who can own a CNA program?
Generally speaking, anyone can own a CNA school. Most states do not place any educational requirements or experience requirements for one to own a CNA school. As long as the owner places the proper personnel in the school to oversee and teach the program, the program can function. There are a few states that conduct a background check, bankruptcy checks and even financial status/credit checks to ensure you can afford the responsibility of the schools. Please check your state’s board of higher education regulation for more information on this topic.
- How long does it take to start a CNA school?
This is not an overnight process, or a “few pages of paperwork and you’re done” scenario. Depending on the state, many programs take 6 months to one year from the start of the paperwork process to the approval of the program. Be ready for a marathon and not a sprint. Acquiring teaching supplies, identifying a location, hiring staff, and determining your company policies are only a few pieces to the puzzle. Many states require that you write a curriculum from scratch with specific requirements, while other states provide you with a curriculum that you then must identify the needed supplemental materials. Either way, the process takes time so be prepared.
- What book should be used for the instructor to teach from?
This is the top item most of my clients never think about until I ask them. If you are staring a CNA school and you are not a nurse, you will want to consult with your future nurse program coordinator to help you figure this part out. Writing a curriculum or choosing a book to teach from is the most critical step in determining your students’ success. The book you choose must be published within the last 5 years in most cases and should complement the program or target audience you are teaching. For instance, if your CNA program will be a few months or so, you may want to consider a book that goes in depth on certain topics whereas a fast paced 4-week program may want to consider a book that is more accelerated. Not all publishers offer both options. We often suggest August Learning Solutions CNA textbook for most of our clients as we love the features and brilliance of the book.
- What type of facilities can CNA schools send their students to for clinical rotations?
The federal law states CNA clinical education MUST be conducted in a long-term care facility, also known as a skilled nursing home. The federal government only requires 16 hours of clinical education; however, many states have added additional hour requirements. In order for a CNA school to gain full approval, the owner must obtain a written clinical contract signed by a nursing home in order to function. Your CNA school will heavily rely on this relationship, so identifying a nursing home to connect with very early on is key!
I hope these tips help you make educated decisions along your CNA school start-up journey. Starting a CNA School is hard work but you can do it! Just take your time and get it done right. If you would like help along the way, just let us know. Check out our services tab HERE or email us at [email protected] and we can help you learn about the different options we offer.
Victoria Randle MSN, NP-C is the owner and operator of The Secret Cocktail®, a healthcare school consulting firm located in Atlanta, GA. Since their inception in 2018, the company has consulted to help start over 100 CNA schools across the nation.