How to Enroll In the Best Accredited CNA Program Near Maricopa 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 classes near Maricopa AZ. Once you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding positions in healthcare within the Country. Even though it might seem like a daunting endeavor, it's essential that you select the best school to receive 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 might additionally be contemplating 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 completing your due diligence before picking a school involves 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 addressing those issues as well as several other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Maricopa AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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 minimum amount of instruction required and each state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with 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 certain that the training is state approved. As well as 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 Courses
Enrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Maricopa AZ. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of 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 previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as 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 sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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 verify that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Maricopa AZ area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. 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 contact some Maricopa 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Maricopa AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified 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 a working relationship with nearby Maricopa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.