How to Select the Best Certified Nursing Assistant School near Alabaster Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Alabaster AL. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in healthcare within the United States. Though it may seem like a complicated undertaking, it's imperative that you pick the right program to acquire the proper training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be considering 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 performing your due diligence before choosing a training course entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those topics as well as several other questions that you need to 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 available.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they are employed. Per 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. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in Alabaster AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extended time periods. In many cases, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
Certified Nursing Assistant DiplomasIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Alabaster AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also 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 course is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Courses
Attending CNA programs online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Alabaster AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask Certified Nursing Assistant Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you receive a quality education and employment in the Alabaster AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Alabaster AL 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 looking at 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Alabaster AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Alabaster Certified Nursing Assistant School
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is perhaps the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various aspects that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Alabaster AL.