How to Choose the Right CNA Course Near Phoenix 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 Phoenix AZ. After you have obtained your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding positions in health care within the United States. Though it might seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's essential that you choose the best program to obtain the necessary training and education. Many future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to picking a program involves much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics along with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant
A CNA is a vital part of a healthcare team. As a matter of fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of residents or patients of the medical facility or agency that he or she is employed by. CNAs also help with daily activities such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their feedback about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other Phoenix AZ healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including lifting, positioning, and transferring patients during their shift. CNAs spend the majority of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for people who love to keep busy and help patients while treating them with dignity and respect.
CNA CoursesUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Phoenix AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training 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 required to obtain 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 required and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Classes
Attending CNA schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Phoenix AZ. Many 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 completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Training Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education and employment in the Phoenix AZ area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Phoenix 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Phoenix AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Best Phoenix Nurse Assistant School
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant program is arguably the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous aspects that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Phoenix Arizona.