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How to Pick the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Gilbert Arizona

Gilbert AZ Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureNow that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Gilbert AZ. Once you have attained your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the Country. Even though it may well seem like a difficult task, it's important that you pick the best school to obtain 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 also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More about that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before choosing a program requires far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those subjects as well as various other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of a Nursing Assistant

Gilbert AZ CNA helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many functions in the Gilbert AZ hospitals, practices and other medical facilities 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 function under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Administering basic services 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 can also work in Gilbert 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 individuals carry out daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often remain in the facilities for extended time periods. Frequently, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Gilbert AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 minimal amount of instruction directed and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training 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 additional prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Training

Gilbert AZ student taking online CNA coursesEnrolling in CNA classes online is becoming a more popular way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Gilbert AZ. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Programs

Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense 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 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you receive a premium education and employment in the Gilbert AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. 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 speak with some Gilbert 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 colleges you are considering 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 unhappy 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 favorable reputation within the Gilbert AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Gilbert AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Choose the Right CNA Training

Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Gilbert AZ.