How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Course 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 programs near Athens AL. Once you have achieved your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Although it might seem like a daunting task, it's important that you choose the best program to obtain the necessary training and education. Many future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But performing your due diligence before selecting a program entails far more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those issues along with a few other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Job of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Athens AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform 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 many and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other rooms
CNAs may also work in Athens AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for extended periods of time. Often, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a significant 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 have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction 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, 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it's important to make sure that the program 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 training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA classes online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 make sure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Athens AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites 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 provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- 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 as well. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 schools 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 unhappy 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 favorable reputation within the Athens AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Athens CNA School
Selecting the right certified nursing assistant college is probably the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Athens AL.