How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School near Phoenix Arizona
Once 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 classes near Phoenix AZ. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in healthcare within the Country. Even though it may seem like a complicated task, it's imperative that you pick the best program to acquire the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students start 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 from home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a program consists of much more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be covering those subjects together with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Phoenix AZ hospitals, practices and other medical facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs might also practice in Phoenix 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 characterized as routine activities that most people carry out daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically reside in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. In many cases, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Phoenix AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with 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. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA training online is becoming a more preferred way to get instruction 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 require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping make sure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Phoenix AZ area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 schools 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Phoenix AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best CNA School
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is arguably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Phoenix AZ.