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How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Phoenix Arizona

Phoenix AZ Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsNow that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Phoenix AZ. Once you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in medical care within the United States. Although it may well seem like an overwhelming task, it's imperative that you pick the best school to obtain the proper training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More regarding that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to choosing a program requires far more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those subjects as well as a few other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Nursing Assistant

Phoenix AZ Certified Nursing Assistant greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many functions in the Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare organizations where they are employed. 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. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:

  • Administering basic services 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
  • Moving patients to other rooms

CNAs can also work in Phoenix AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people perform daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of 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 balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Phoenix AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 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 training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch 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 requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Programs

Phoenix AZ woman taking online CNA trainingAttending CNA programs online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Phoenix AZ. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Training Classes

Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • 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. Aside from helping verify that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Phoenix AZ area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs differ 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check 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 Phoenix 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 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 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 Phoenix AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain employment.
  • 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right Nurse Assistant Training

Phoenix AZ Nursing Assistant with assisted living residentDeciding on the right certified nursing assistant degree program is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Phoenix AZ.