How to Select the Right Accredited CNA Program Near El Mirage Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near El Mirage AZ. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly increasing positions in health care within the USA. Though it may well seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's important that you pick the ideal course to acquire the proper training and education. Many future students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More about that option later. But doing your due diligence before deciding on a school consists of 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 addressing those issues as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at El Mirage AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and every state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Schools
Attending CNA programs online is growing into a more favored way to get instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in El Mirage AZ. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
What to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a premium education and employment in the El Mirage AZ area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some El Mirage AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the El Mirage AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local El Mirage AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.