How to Select the Right CNA College near Jonesboro Arkansas
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Jonesboro AR. After you have earned your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in health care within the Country. Although it may well seem like a daunting endeavor, it's essential that you choose the ideal course to acquire the appropriate training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More concerning that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before selecting a school requires much more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be covering those topics along with several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Jonesboro AR hospitals, practices 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 function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other rooms
CNAs might also work in Jonesboro AR nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically reside in the facilities for extended time frames. Often, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Jonesboro AR vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 minimal amount of instruction directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Schools
Attending CNA training online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Jonesboro AR. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work 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 easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Arkansas and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education and employment in the Jonesboro AR area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arkansas 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 agencies for their reviews also. Also, contact the Arkansas school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Jonesboro AR 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 colleges 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Jonesboro AR medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Jonesboro AR hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best CNA School
Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant program is probably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Jonesboro AR.