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Anatomy and Physiology | Health Science | National Healthcareer Association (NHA)

NHA vs. AES: Which is Better for Teaching Anatomy and Physiology?

March 29th, 2022 | 11 min. read

Brad Hummel

Brad Hummel

Coming from a family of educators, Brad knows both the joys and challenges of teaching well. Through teaching experience of his own, he’s experienced both firsthand. As a writer for AES, Brad’s goal is to help teachers empower their students through listening to educators’ concerns and creating content that answers their most pressing questions about career and technical education.

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When teaching your CTE health science students, finding the right anatomy and physiology curriculum can be pivotal to their success. Because your students need to know A&P concepts for nearly every health care field, it’s critical to give them a complete curriculum equipping them for certifications and career opportunities.

If your current anatomy and physiology textbooks and other materials are missing the mark, you’re probably looking for more engaging resources. Two anatomy and physiology curriculum options you may have heard of are NHA and AES. You might even use NHA materials to prepare students for certification tests.

In this article, we’ll compare NHA’s anatomy and physiology resources and the AES anatomy and physiology curriculum.

Specifically, you’ll learn answers to these questions:

  • What Anatomy and Physiology Topics Do NHA and AES Cover?
  • How Is Each Anatomy and Physiology Program Structured?
  • What Is the Purpose of Each Anatomy and Physiology Resource?
  • What Does Each Program Cost?
  • Which A&P Resources Are Right For You and Your Students?

After reading, you'll better understand what NHA and AES offer for anatomy and physiology to determine if one suits your program.

What Anatomy and Physiology Topics Do NHA and AES Cover?anatomy-physiology-curriculum-topics

When choosing the right resource for your students, it’s essential to understand what anatomy and physiology topics are covered and to what extent.

Below, we’ll take a closer look at the topics discussed in each A&P resource.

Topics Covered by the NHA Anatomy and Physiology Resouce

The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) covers all the basics with their anatomy and physiology program.

NHA divides its A&P topics into 25 short, teachable sections called modules. Some of these modules cover whole body systems, while others focus on functions, concepts, diseases and disorders, or basic cellular makeup within a particular system:

  1. Organization of the Human Body
  2. Chemistry, Matter, and Life
  3. Cells and Their Functions
  4. Tissues, Glands, and Membranes
  5. Disease and Disease-Producing Organisms
  6. Integumentary System
  7. Skeletal System
  8. Muscular System
  9. The Spinal Cord and Spinal Nerves
  10. The Brain and Cranial Nerves
  11. Sensory System
  12. Endocrine System: Glands and Hormones
  13. Blood
  14. The Heart and Heart Disease
  15. Blood Vessels and Blood Circulation
  16. Lymphatic System and Lymphoid Tissue
  17. Immunity
  18. Respiratory System
  19. Digestive System
  20. Metabolism, Nutrition, and Body Temperature
  21. Urinary System
  22. Body Fluids
  23. Male and Female Body Systems
  24. Development and Birth
  25. Heredity and Hereditary Diseases

Although the NHA resource has many modules, NHA assures that each contains easily digestible, “right-sized content.”

Topics Covered by the AES Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum

The AES curriculum contains 200 hours of anatomy and physiology material for CTE health science classes.

AES divides the curriculum into thirteen main sections called modules. Modules are organized by major systems of the human body.

Each module contains up to nine different content units. Teachers can choose whether to incorporate an individual module, unit, or activity in their course.

anatomy-physiology-curriculum-aes

The AES anatomy and physiology curriculum includes these 13 modules:

The Anatomy and Physiology Introduction module has 21 curriculum hours and these units:

  1. Introduction
  2. Building Blocks of the Human Body
  3. Everything Begins with Cells
  4. Cell Reproduction
  5. Chemical Processes that Support Life
  6. Anatomical Terminology
  7. The Body at Work

The Cardiovascular System module has 18 hours of content and these units:

  1. Introduction
  2. The Heart: Anatomy and Function
  3. Cardiac Blood Vessels
  4. The Cardiac Cycle
  5. Blood and Its Component
  6. Blood Cells and Blood Types
  7. Development of the Heart
  8. Diseases and Disorders

The Digestive System includes 12.5 hours of material divided into these units:

  1. Structure and Function
  2. Diseases and Disorders

The Endocrine System has 12.5 instructional hours and these units:

  1. Structure and Function
  2. Diseases and Disorders

The Integumentary System module features 11.5 hours of instruction and these units:

  1. Structure and Function
  2. Diseases and Disorders

The Lymphatic System module includes 12.5 hours of curriculum between these units:

  1. Structure and Function
  2. Diseases and Disorders

The Muscular System module has 20 hours of instruction in these units:

  1. Introduction
  2. Types of Muscles
  3. Starting the Muscle Contraction
  4. Muscle Movement at the Cellular Level
  5. Body Motions and Terminology
  6. Naming of the Skeletal Muscles
  7. Muscle Groups
  8. Resistance Traning and Exercise
  9. Diseases and Disorders

The Nervous System module features 12.5 instructional hours across these units:

  1. Structure and Function
  2. Diseases and Disorders

The Reproductive System module has 12.5 hours of material in these units:

  1. Structure and Function
  2. Diseases and Disorders

The Respiratory System module offers 13 hours of curriculum across these units:

  1. Structure and Function
  2. Diseases and Disorders

The Sensory System module includes 12.5 hours of material between these units:

  1. Structure and Function
  2. Diseases and Disorders

The Skeletal System module features 25.5 curriculum hours in these units:

  1. Introduction
  2. Bones and the Skeletal System
  3. Bone Anatomy
  4. Axial Skeleton
  5. Appendicular Skeleton
  6. Articulations
  7. Bone Markings
  8. Bone Growth and remodeling
  9. Diseases and Disorders

The Urinary System module has 12.5 hours of curriculum and these units:

  1. Structure and Function
  2. Diseases and Disorders

It’s worth noting that since AES modules have units, they can contain material from several NHA modules. For example, NHA topics of Male and Female Body Systems, Development and Birth, and Heredity and Hereditary Diseases are all covered within the AES Reproductive System module.

How is Each Anatomy and Physiology Program Structured?

nha-aes-structure-design-anatomy

The NHA and AES anatomy and physiology programs are structured differently, so you’ll want to take note of the focuses of each.

In this section, you’ll find more details about the learning design of these two resources.

How is the NHA Anatomy and Physiology Resource Structured?

Each learning module follows a similar structure within the NHA Anatomy and Physiology resource. Students can expect to encounter information in the same order as they progress through the program.

NHA anatomy and physiology modules generally include these elements:

  • Pretest
  • Overview
  • Case Study
  • Structure, Function, Diseases/Disorders, and Treatment
  • Case Study Revisited
  • Quiz
  • Practice Enrichments
  • Resources

The standout for teachers about the NHA structure is the prominent use of case studies before and after learning the core content within each unit. These case studies are unique to the NHA resource.

How is the AES Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum Structured?

aes-course-framework-four-phase-curriculum

The AES anatomy and physiology curriculum consists of larger learning modules organized by body system. Each module uses the same educational framework called the four phases.

The four-phase curriculum is designed to maximize student understanding while saving teachers time in the classroom:

  • During the Explore phase, teachers lead students in activities designed to hook their interests.
  • In the Learn & Practice phase, students learn new anatomy and physiology concepts and skills through teacher-led presentations and student-directed eLearning lessons.
  • The Reflect phase includes teacher-led activities designed to review and discuss key ideas.
  • Finally, the Reinforce phase contains student-directed projects that enhance their understanding of the concepts in each module.

While following the four phases maximizes learning and retention, it’s important to note that you can use whichever combination of materials best satisfies their specific needs.

What Is the Purpose of Each Anatomy and Physiology Program?

nha-aes-instructional-purpose-anatomy

Both NHA and AES have anatomy and physiology resources that can help improve your students’ performance in the classroom and on certification tests. But the purpose of each program is different.

Here, we’ll compare the goals of these two popular anatomy and physiology programs.

What Is the Purpose of the NHA Anatomy and Physiology Resource?

NHA’s anatomy and physiology resource is designed to improve engagement and retention in CTE health science programs. Because it’s specific to anatomy and physiology, it can supplement an existing A&P curriculum or serve as an interactive tool teachers can use in other classes.

As a certification provider, NHA’s primary focus is preparing students for the health care workforce through one of its many certification assessments. The anatomy and physiology resource can help students prepare for certifications from NHA or other providers.

The NHA anatomy and physiology materials are often used in these certification programs:

Overall, the NHA anatomy and physiology resource offers students right-sized content that adds to their comprehension and understanding of essential concepts. This means it's likely to be a great supplemental resource for many CTE teachers.

What Is the Purpose of the AES Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum?

The AES anatomy and physiology curriculum forms an integral part of the HealthCenter21 comprehensive curriculum system. It gives students a broad and encompassing knowledge of anatomy and physiology, including terminology, body systems, and diseases and disorders.

This A&P curriculum can be used in a year-long anatomy course. It’s designed to fit into a complete CTE health science program to teach students anatomy and physiology, meet state standards, and prepare students for certifications - including those offered by NHA.

Overall, the AES curriculum allows students to learn anatomy and physiology as part of a cohesive, comprehensive learning experience that prepares them throughout the health science career pathway.

Related Resource: How to Teach Anatomy and Physiology with AES

How Much Does Each Program Cost?aes-nha-anatomy-and-physiology-cost

NHA and AES price their anatomy and physiology resources differently. In this section, you’ll learn more about what you can expect to pay for each program.

How is the NHA Anatomy and Physiology Resource Priced?

Like most NHA offerings, the anatomy and physiology resource is priced per student. That means you can estimate your price based on the number of students enrolled in your class or school.

The NHA Anatomy and Physiology resource costs $65 per student. However, if you’re already working with NHA or are interested in multiple sets of materials, you may be able to bundle your resources for a reduced price.

You should contact NHA for how much a bundle would cost your institution.

How is the AES Anatomy and Physiology Curriculum Priced?

The AES anatomy and physiology curriculum is an integral part of the HealthCenter21 curriculum system. HealthCenter21 is a comprehensive curriculum solution for teachers to engage students across the CTE health science pathway.

The cost of a HealthCenter21 annual subscription depends on the number of students, teachers, and locations you plan to use AES:

  • The Classroom plan starts at $1,500 for 20 students and is designed for teachers and students in a single classroom.
  • The Campus plan starts at $4,000 for 65 students and is best for multiple teachers at the same school.
  • The District plan starts at $10,000 for 175 students and is intended for multiple teachers at different campuses.

Each plan includes full access to the entire HealthCenter21 catalog, including every anatomy and physiology curriculum module.

Which Anatomy and Physiology Resources Are Right for You and Your Students?choose-anatomy-physiology-resources

Which anatomy and physiology program is the right choice for you and your students will depend primarily on what you hope to get out of the learning experience.

If you’re looking for supplemental anatomy and physiology resources focused on preparing students for certification tests, consider the NHA program.

Because it covers all the basics, it’s a good choice for students who need to learn A&P as part of a course or ahead of certification tests. Teachers who use case studies to illustrate anatomy concepts may prefer NHA since studies appear in every module.

Finally, educators who already use other NHA resources in their classrooms will want to consider the bundle opportunities for educators who purchase multiple products.

If you need to teach a year-long anatomy and physiology course using a comprehensive curriculum system for your entire health science pathway, consider AES.

You can integrate A&P curriculum modules into any course you create with AES, allowing you to teach and remediate anatomy and physiology in classes throughout your program. The AES curriculum system is also an excellent fit for teachers who want the flexibility to incorporate the content their students need the most to provide an engaging, custom learning experience.

If you think that the AES anatomy and physiology curriculum is right for you and your students, sign up for a free trial of HealthCenter21.

In your trial, you’ll receive full access to an extensive A&P program that’s part of an overarching, comprehensive health science curriculum. You’ll be able to use the materials directly with your students to help you decide if it’s right for them.

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