How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant School near Phoenix Arizona
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Phoenix AZ. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Though it might seem like a daunting task, it's essential that you pick the right school to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many potential students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More about that alternative later. But doing your due diligence prior to deciding on a training course requires far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those subjects together with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, 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 aiding patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in Phoenix AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Phoenix AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 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 must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA classes online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Phoenix AZ. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Training Classes
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a quality education and employment in the Phoenix AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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 delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find out 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs 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 displeased 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 Phoenix AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Phoenix AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right CNA Program
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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.