How to Select the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program Near Phoenix Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Phoenix AZ. After you have attained your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Although it may well seem like a daunting undertaking, it's essential that you pick the best school to acquire the proper training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price 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 deciding on a school involves far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those subjects together with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about the type of training and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Phoenix AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training 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 prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Attending CNA schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Phoenix AZ. Certain schools will require attending 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 remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
What to Ask CNA Training Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 make sure that you receive a premium education and employment in the Phoenix AZ area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. 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 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 schools 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Phoenix AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.