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How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Peoria Arizona

Peoria AZ Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureNow that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Peoria AZ. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in health care within the USA. Although it might seem like a complicated undertaking, it's imperative that you select the right course to obtain the proper training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But performing your due diligence prior to picking a program entails 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 as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Duties of a Nursing Assistant

Peoria AZ Certified Nursing Assistant assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many functions in the Peoria AZ hospitals, practices 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 prime job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Providing basic services to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other areas

CNAs can also work in Peoria AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for extensive time periods. In many cases, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Peoria AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction 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 mandated to have 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 minimum period of training required and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets 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 certain that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Classes

Peoria AZ student taking online CNA classesAttending CNA classes online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Peoria AZ. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

What to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. 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 reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 organization. In addition to helping ensure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Peoria AZ area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often 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.  Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Peoria 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 schools 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 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 Peoria AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Peoria AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant Program

Peoria AZ CNA with assisted living patientSelecting the ideal certified nursing assistant program is probably the most important phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Peoria AZ.