How to Select the Best Certified Nursing Assistant College near Litchfield Park 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 Litchfield Park AZ. After you have obtained your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the United States. Though it might seem like a complicated undertaking, it's important that you select the right program 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 might additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence before picking a program involves far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects together with various other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Litchfield Park AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather 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 role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other rooms
CNAs may also practice in Litchfield Park AZ nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
Certified Nursing Assistant DiplomasUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Litchfield Park AZ vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and that each state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training 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 can be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and earn a certificate or diploma in Litchfield Park AZ. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask Certified Nursing Assistant Colleges
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the CNA certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education and employment in the Litchfield Park AZ area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria 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 essential that the school you are attending not only delivers 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 assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Arizona school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Litchfield Park 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Litchfield Park AZ healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Litchfield Park AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Litchfield Park CNA Training
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Litchfield Park AZ.