How to Pick the Right CNA Program near San Tan Valley Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near San Tan Valley AZ. Once you have achieved your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in healthcare within the Country. Though it may well seem like a complicated undertaking, it's important that you choose the best course to obtain the necessary training and education. Many future students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But doing your due diligence before choosing a school requires far 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 covering those subjects together with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll 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 Function of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, practices and other health care facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other rooms
CNAs can also work in San Tan Valley AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually remain in the facilities for extensive time frames. In many cases, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at San Tan Valley 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. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Classes
Enrolling in CNA classes online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in San Tan Valley AZ. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. 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 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education and employment in the San Tan Valley 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, 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 San Tan Valley 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 superb reputation within the San Tan Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Best CNA School
Picking the best certified nursing assistant program is perhaps the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in San Tan Valley AZ.