How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Apache Junction Arizona
Once you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Apache Junction AZ. After you have obtained your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in health care within the Country. Although it may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's important that you pick the right program to acquire the necessary training and education. Many potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course consists of far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those subjects along with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Apache Junction 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. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in Apache Junction AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people perform daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for prolonged time periods. In many cases, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Apache Junction AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it's important 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 certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Classes
Enrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Apache Junction AZ. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, 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 choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 organization. Aside from helping make sure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Apache Junction AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations 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 contact some Apache Junction 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 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Apache Junction AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Apache Junction AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant Program
Selecting the right certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Apache Junction AZ.