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How to Find the Best Nursing Assistant Classes near Mesa Arizona

Mesa AZ Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Mesa AZ. Once you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in health care within the USA. Although it might seem like a challenging undertaking, it's important that you pick the right course 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 cost of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to selecting a school involves far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those subjects along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll 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 Job of a CNA

Mesa AZ Nursing Assistant greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Mesa AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:

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

CNAs might also work in Mesa AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside 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 thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Mesa AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and that every state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally 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 course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.

Online CNA Programs

Mesa AZ woman taking CNA online coursesAttending CNA classes online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Mesa AZ. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Colleges

Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • 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 verify that you receive a quality education and employment in the Mesa AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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.  Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Mesa 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Mesa AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Mesa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right Nurse Assistant School

Mesa AZ CNA with assisted living patientEnrolling in the best certified nursing assistant program is probably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Mesa AZ.