How to Pick the Right CNA College near Oro Valley Arizona
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Oro Valley AZ. After you have obtained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in healthcare within the United States. Though it may well seem like a complicated endeavor, it's important that you pick the best course to obtain the proper training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be contemplating 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 selecting a school requires much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those subjects as well as several other questions that you should 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Oro Valley AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs can also practice in Oro Valley AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often stay in the facilities for extended 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. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Oro Valley AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimal period of training directed and each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 sure that the training course is state approved. In addition to 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.
Online CNA Schools
Enrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Oro Valley AZ. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Oro Valley AZ area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Oro Valley 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 colleges 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Oro Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Oro Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right CNA Training
Picking the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Oro Valley AZ.