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How to Select the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Classes near Flagstaff Arizona

Flagstaff AZ Nursing Assistant 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 classes near Flagstaff AZ. Once you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in healthcare within the USA. Even though it may well seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's essential that you pick the right program to receive the necessary training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be pondering 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 before deciding on a training course consists of much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Flagstaff AZ Nursing Assistant helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Flagstaff AZ hospitals, practices and other health organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other areas

CNAs might also practice in Flagstaff AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for extensive time periods. Often, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Flagstaff 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. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive 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 period of training required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Flagstaff AZ student attending CNA online trainingAttending CNA programs online is emerging as a more favored way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Flagstaff AZ. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can 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 cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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 job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Schools

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 agency. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education and employment in the Flagstaff AZ area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Flagstaff 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 Flagstaff AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Enroll in the Best CNA School

Enrolling in the right certified nursing assistant school is probably the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this content, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Flagstaff AZ.