How to Pick the Best Certified Nursing Assistant School near Gardendale Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Gardendale AL. Once you have attained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing positions in medical care within the Country. Although it may seem like a challenging task, it's essential that you choose the best course to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most fundamental 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 course and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before deciding on a school entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be covering those topics together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Gardendale AL hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in Gardendale AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically stay in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Often, they can become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
Certified Nursing Assistant CertificatesIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Gardendale AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally 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 certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Classes
Enrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Gardendale AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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). So if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Courses
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education and employment in the Gardendale AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Gardendale 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 programs 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 dissatisfied 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 superb reputation within the Gardendale AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Gardendale AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Gardendale Nurse Assistant Program
Picking the best certified nursing assistant school is perhaps the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Gardendale AL.