How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Maricopa Arizona
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Maricopa AZ. Once you have achieved your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in medical care within the USA. Even though it might seem like a daunting undertaking, it's imperative that you select the right program to acquire the proper training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before picking a school consists of much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues as well as a few 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 kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Maricopa AZ hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Furnishing basic services 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
- Transferring patients to other rooms
CNAs can also practice in Maricopa AZ nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they often remain in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Frequently, they can 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 an useful resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Maricopa AZ vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure 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 contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA classes online is becoming a more favored way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Maricopa AZ. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Training Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Arizona and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Maricopa AZ area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs vary 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 excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Arizona or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, 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 Maricopa 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 programs 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Maricopa AZ medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Maricopa AZ hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Maricopa Certified Nursing Assistant Program
Enrolling in the right certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various aspects that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Maricopa AZ.