How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School near San Tan Valley Arizona
Now that 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 San Tan Valley AZ. After you have earned your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in medical care within the USA. Though it may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's essential that you choose the right course to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of prospective 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 course and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But completing your due diligence before choosing a school consists of far more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be covering those topics as well as several other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Role of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many functions in the San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in San Tan Valley AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for extended time periods. Frequently, they can become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at San Tan Valley AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required 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 minimum period of instruction required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise 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 certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Schools
Enrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more popular way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in San Tan Valley AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium 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 differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to find 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 programs 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 essential 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 relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Nurse Assistant Training
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant college is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in San Tan Valley AZ.