How to Select the Best CNA School Near Maricopa Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA classes near Maricopa AZ. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing positions in healthcare within the Country. Though it may well seem like a challenging task, it's essential that you choose the ideal school to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of potential students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally 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 doing your due diligence prior to picking a school entails 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 covering those subjects along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.
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The Duties of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Maricopa AZ hospitals, practices and other medical organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other rooms
CNAs can also work in Maricopa AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Often, they may become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Maricopa AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and each state has its own requirements. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Training
Attending CNA schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Maricopa AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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 work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Maricopa AZ area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Maricopa AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Maricopa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Maricopa Nurse Assistant School
Picking the right certified nursing assistant degree program is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Maricopa Arizona.