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How to Enroll In the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Phoenix Arizona

Phoenix AZ Certified Nursing Assistant taking patient'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 searching for CNA training programs near Phoenix AZ. Once you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in medical care within the United States. Although it may well seem like a complicated task, it's imperative that you pick the best course to receive the necessary training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More about that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to selecting a training course entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics together with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Phoenix AZ Nursing Assistant assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other rooms

CNAs may also practice in Phoenix AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for extended time frames. Often, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Phoenix AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 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 must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and every state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Schools

Phoenix AZ student attending online CNA classesAttending CNA schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Phoenix AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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). Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt 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 choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you receive a quality education and employment in the Phoenix AZ area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Phoenix 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Phoenix AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Best CNA School

Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most critical phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is essential that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Phoenix AZ.