How to Choose the Best Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant School Near Catalina Foothills Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Catalina Foothills AZ. Once you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in health care within the USA. Even though it may well seem like a daunting undertaking, it's essential that you pick the best course to acquire the proper training and education. Many future students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to deciding on a school requires much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects as well as a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Catalina Foothills AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Courses
Attending CNA programs online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Catalina Foothills AZ. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Catalina Foothills AZ area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Catalina Foothills AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Catalina Foothills AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Catalina Foothills AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.