How to Find the Best CNA College near Casa Grande Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Casa Grande AZ. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Though it might seem like a complicated undertaking, it's essential that you select the best program to obtain the necessary training and education. Many potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a school consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly 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 first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Casa Grande AZ hospitals, practices and other health care facilities 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 function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Providing 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
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice in Casa Grande AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without assistance, such as 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 periods. Often, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Casa Grande AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 period of instruction directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Classes
Enrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Casa Grande AZ. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you get a quality education and employment in the Casa Grande AZ area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Casa Grande AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs 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 Casa Grande AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Casa Grande AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Nurse Assistant Training
Picking the best certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick 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 certified nursing assistant in Casa Grande AZ.