How to Find the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Athens Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Athens AL. After you have earned your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in healthcare within the Country. Though it may seem like a complicated endeavor, it's important that you choose the best course to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More on that option later. But performing your due diligence before picking a training course entails far more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those subjects along with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Athens AL hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs can also practice in Athens AL 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 identified as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extended periods of time. In many cases, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Athens AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program 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 mandated to obtain 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 minimal period of training required and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Schools
Enrolling in CNA training online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and earn a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Certified Nursing Assistant Training Classes
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education and employment in the Athens AL area, it may assist in acquiring 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 specific 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 prepares you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Athens AL 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 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 dissatisfied 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 Athens AL 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 setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Athens Certified Nursing Assistant Program
Enrolling in the best certified nursing assistant program is arguably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this post, it is essential that you pick a CNA college 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 develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Athens AL.