How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School near San Tan Valley Arizona
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near San Tan Valley AZ. After you have obtained your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in health care within the United States. Even though it might seem like a daunting undertaking, it's important that you choose the best course to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of potential students begin 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 at home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to picking a program entails far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those topics as well as several other questions that you should 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, practices and other medical 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 work under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice 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 characterized as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they can become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable 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 obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at San Tan Valley AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive 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 training mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally 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 sure that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA training online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in San Tan Valley AZ. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary 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 and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the San Tan Valley AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- 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 too. In addition, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some San Tan Valley 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the San Tan Valley AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Best Nurse Assistant School
Enrolling in the best certified nursing assistant school is perhaps the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in San Tan Valley AZ.