How to Pick the Best CNA College Near Maricopa Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Maricopa AZ. After you have attained your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Though it might seem like a challenging task, it's essential that you select the right course to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More regarding that option later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a program consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those subjects as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Maricopa AZ hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs might also practice in Maricopa AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for extensive time frames. In many cases, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Maricopa AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and every state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally 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 course is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Schools
Attending CNA schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and attain a certificate or diploma in Maricopa AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part 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 can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower 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 along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you receive a quality education and employment in the Maricopa AZ area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria 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 completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, 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 speak with 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 finish 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Maricopa AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Maricopa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Maricopa Nurse Assistant Training
Selecting the best certified nursing assistant degree program is probably the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is essential that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Maricopa Arizona.