How to Find the Best Accredited CNA Course Near Flagstaff Arizona
Now that 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 programs near Flagstaff AZ. After you have obtained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in medical care within the USA. Even though it may seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's imperative that you pick the ideal course to obtain the proper training and education. Many future students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may 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 performing your due diligence before selecting a program entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing 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 talk a little bit about the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Flagstaff AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 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 each state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Programs
Enrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Flagstaff AZ. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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 job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start 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 necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Flagstaff AZ area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact 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 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 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 superb reputation within the Flagstaff AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.