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How to Find the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Flagstaff Arizona

Flagstaff AZ CNA taking man's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Flagstaff AZ. Once you have earned your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing positions in healthcare within the USA. Even though it may well seem like a challenging undertaking, it's essential that you select the ideal program to receive the necessary training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most essential 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 program and attend them at home. More concerning that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before selecting a training course consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those topics as well as several other questions that you should 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 kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Flagstaff AZ Certified Nursing Assistant assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Flagstaff AZ hospitals, practices and other health care facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other rooms

CNAs can also work in Flagstaff AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often reside in the facilities for extensive time periods. In many cases, they can end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Flagstaff AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction 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 need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip 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 requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Flagstaff AZ student attending online CNA classesEnrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Flagstaff AZ. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household 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 busy schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Courses

Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.

  • 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 recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Flagstaff AZ area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, 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 Flagstaff 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Flagstaff AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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 environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Enroll in the Right CNA Program

Deciding on the best certified nursing assistant college is probably the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is critical that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are both 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 choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Flagstaff AZ.