How to Find the Best Accredited CNA Training Program Near Flagstaff Arizona
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Flagstaff AZ. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the United States. Even though it may seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's imperative that you choose the right school to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of potential 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 deciding on a program involves much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those topics as well as several 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 training and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Flagstaff AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and that each state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Courses
Attending CNA programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Flagstaff AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified 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 practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like 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 school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Courses
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many 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 workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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. Aside from helping make sure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Flagstaff AZ area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs 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 good reputation within the Flagstaff AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.