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How to Pick the Best CNA School Near Flagstaff Arizona

Flagstaff Arizona CNA reviewing patient file with RNOnce you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Flagstaff AZ. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in health care within the United States. Though it may well seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's important that you choose the right course to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that alternative later. But doing your due diligence prior to picking a program consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues together with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.

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CNA Certificates

Flagstaff Arizona Nursing Assistant with senior woman in nursing home

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Flagstaff AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.

CNA Online Schools

Flagstaff Arizona young woman student enrolled in CNA classes onlineAttending CNA schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and attain a certificate or diploma in Flagstaff AZ. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Training Classes

Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other programs.

  • 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 organization. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education and employment in the Flagstaff AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at 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 as well. In addition, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 opinions 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Flagstaff AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

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