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

Flagstaff AZ Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsNow that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Flagstaff AZ. Once you have earned your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in medical care within the United States. Although it may well seem like a challenging task, it's imperative that you select the right course to receive the proper training and education. A number of potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before picking a school requires far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those subjects as well as a few other questions that you need to 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a CNA

Flagstaff AZ CNA assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Administering basic care to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other rooms

CNAs can also practice in Flagstaff AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Flagstaff AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Schools

Flagstaff AZ student taking online CNA classesEnrolling in CNA schools online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Flagstaff AZ. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

What to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Flagstaff AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often 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.  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 provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. 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 call 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Flagstaff AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Flagstaff AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right Nurse Assistant Training

Flagstaff AZ CNA with nursing home patientChoosing the best certified nursing assistant school is arguably the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Flagstaff AZ.