How to Select the Best CNA College 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 start the process of searching for CNA training classes near San Tan Valley AZ. After you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in health care within the USA. Even though it may well seem like a challenging task, it's imperative that you pick the right program to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More on that option later. But doing your due diligence before picking a school involves much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects together with several other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in San Tan Valley AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, 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 aid, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extensive time frames. Often, they can end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at San Tan Valley AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 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 instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise 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 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 may be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA schools online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in San Tan Valley AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. 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 like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family obligations 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 hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the San Tan Valley AZ area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each 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 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 colleges 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the San Tan Valley AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby San Tan Valley AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant Training
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in San Tan Valley AZ.