How to Select the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Sun City Arizona
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Sun City AZ. After you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in health care within the United States. Though it may well seem like a daunting task, it's imperative that you select the best program to acquire the necessary training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most basic 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 course and attend them at home. More about that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course requires much more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues together with various 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Sun City AZ hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations 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 supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other rooms
CNAs can also practice in Sun City AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extensive time periods. Often, they can become the conduit 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 valued resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Sun City AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make certain 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 check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Schools
Attending CNA training online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Sun City AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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. Besides helping verify that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Sun City AZ area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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. 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 delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Sun City AZ healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs you are considering 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Sun City AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Sun City AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right CNA Program
Selecting the best certified nursing assistant program is arguably the most important phase to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many factors that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you pick 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 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 certified nursing assistant in Sun City AZ.