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How to Pick the Right CNA Training Program Near Flagstaff Arizona

Flagstaff Arizona Nursing Assistant going over patient file with RNOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Flagstaff AZ. After you have earned your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in healthcare within the Country. Though it might seem like an overwhelming task, it's imperative that you pick the right school to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to picking a training course requires much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those subjects as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about the type of instruction and credentials that are available.

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CNA Programs

Flagstaff Arizona CNA with senior woman in nursing home

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Flagstaff AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip 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 mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Courses

Flagstaff Arizona young woman student taking CNA courses onlineAttending CNA training online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Flagstaff AZ. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Schools

Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a premium education and employment in the Flagstaff AZ area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a certain 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 comply with the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 schools you are looking at 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Flagstaff AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with local Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

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