How to Select the Best CNA School near Bessemer 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 programs near Bessemer AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly increasing positions in health care within the USA. Even though it might seem like a difficult task, it's important that you select the right course to receive the necessary training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be considering 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 deciding on a training course involves far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics as well as several other questions that you need to 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 type of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many functions in the Bessemer AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in Bessemer AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people perform daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extensive time frames. Often, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships 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.
CNA CoursesIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Bessemer AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally 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 training is state certified. Along with 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 Programs
Attending CNA programs online is growing into a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Bessemer AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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 job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask Certified Nursing Assistant Training Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the CNA certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a quality education and employment in the Bessemer AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Bessemer 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Bessemer AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Bessemer AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Find Out More About Bessemer CNA Schools
Choose the Right Bessemer CNA School
Picking the right certified nursing assistant program is arguably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Bessemer AL.