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How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant College near Peoria Arizona

Peoria AZ CNA taking patient's blood pressureOnce 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 classes near Peoria AZ. After you have obtained your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding positions in medical care within the United States. Though it might seem like a complicated endeavor, it's essential 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 concerning that option later. But performing your due diligence before selecting a program requires far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those topics as well as various 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 kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Peoria AZ CNA helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many duties in the Peoria 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 function under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties 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 helping patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other rooms

CNAs can also practice in Peoria AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people carry out daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often reside in the facilities for extended time frames. In many cases, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Peoria AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 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 training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.

CNA Online Programs

Peoria AZ woman taking CNA online coursesAttending CNA training online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training and attain a certificate or diploma in Peoria AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Courses

Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education and employment in the Peoria AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Peoria 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 finish 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Peoria AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Peoria AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right CNA School

Peoria AZ Nursing Assistant with nursing home residentDeciding on the right certified nursing assistant training program is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Peoria AZ.