How to Choose the Best CNA Program Near Flagstaff 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 searching for CNA training programs near Flagstaff AZ. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in health care within the USA. Though it might seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's essential that you select the best school to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More on that option later. But doing your due diligence before deciding on a program consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those subjects 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 the type of training and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Flagstaff 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 mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to 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 crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise 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. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Classes
Attending CNA classes online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Flagstaff AZ. Many 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 conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Courses
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the expense 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 only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping ensure that you get a premium education and employment in the Flagstaff AZ area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided 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 performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Flagstaff 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 colleges you are considering 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Flagstaff AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.