How to Pick the Right Accredited CNA College Near Gilbert 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 Gilbert AZ. After you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the United States. Even though it may well seem like a difficult endeavor, it's important that you pick the best course to receive the proper training and education. A number of potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More on that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to deciding on a training course entails much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues along with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
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The Job of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Gilbert AZ hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs can also work in Gilbert AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people carry out daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually stay in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. In many cases, they can become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Gilbert 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. Under 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 minimum period of instruction mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise 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 training course 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.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Gilbert AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Training Classes
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, 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 workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 agency. Besides helping confirm that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Gilbert AZ area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, 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 contact some Gilbert 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 colleges 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Gilbert AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Gilbert AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Gilbert Nurse Assistant Training
Deciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Gilbert Arizona.