How to Choose the Best Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant College 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 begin the process of finding CNA classes near El Mirage AZ. Once you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing positions in medical care within the USA. Although it may seem like a daunting endeavor, it's imperative that you choose the right course to receive the appropriate training and education. Many future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that option later. But doing your due diligence before choosing a program requires far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
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The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant
A Certified Nursing Assistant is an important member of a medical organization. In fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the front line care of patients or residents of the healthcare agency or facility that he or she is employed by. CNAs also assist with activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, typically a Registerd Nurse. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their observations about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other El Mirage AZ medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically demanding, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the right job for those who love to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with dignity and respect.
CNA DiplomasIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at El Mirage AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Programs
Enrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and earn a certificate or diploma in El Mirage AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education and employment in the El Mirage AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 schools 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the El Mirage AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local El Mirage AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best El Mirage Nurse Assistant Program
Selecting the best certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of variables that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in El Mirage Arizona.