How to Select the Best CNA Training Program near Jacksonville Arkansas
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Jacksonville AR. After you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in healthcare within the United States. Although it might seem like a difficult task, it's important that you select the best course to receive the necessary training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to selecting a training course entails much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those subjects along with several other questions that you should 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 instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many jobs in the Jacksonville AR hospitals, practices and other medical facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs might also practice in Jacksonville AR nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Jacksonville AR vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA classes online is emerging as a more popular way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Jacksonville AR. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you receive a premium education and employment in the Jacksonville AR area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Arkansas or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Jacksonville AR 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 schools you are considering 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Jacksonville AR healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Jacksonville AR hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right CNA School
Deciding on the right certified nursing assistant program is probably the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Jacksonville AR.