How to Enroll In the Right CNA Program near Athens Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA classes near Athens AL. After you have earned your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding positions in health care within the USA. Though it might seem like a daunting undertaking, it's important that you select the best course to receive the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students start 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 program and attend them at home. More on that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to selecting a program requires much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many duties in the Athens AL hospitals, clinics and other medical 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 perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting might 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 aiding patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in Athens AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they often reside in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
Certified Nursing Assistant ProgramsUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Athens AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Certificates
Enrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask Certified Nursing Assistant Training Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the CNA certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a premium education and employment in the Athens AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, 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 Athens AL 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 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Athens AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Athens CNA Program
Choosing the best certified nursing assistant school is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick 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.