How to Select the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Irondale Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA classes near Irondale AL. Once you have achieved your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the USA. Though it might seem like a difficult undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the ideal school to receive the appropriate training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally 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 doing your due diligence prior to selecting a school requires much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those subjects as well as several 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 instruction and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Irondale AL hospitals, practices and other health care facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and oversight 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 duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Taking 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 might also work in Irondale AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, 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 assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. In many cases, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
Certified Nursing Assistant CoursesUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Irondale AL vocational or trade schools. The duration 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 required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Training
Attending CNA schools online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Irondale AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate 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 agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a quality education and employment in the Irondale AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. 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 call some Irondale AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Irondale AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Irondale AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Irondale CNA Program
Choosing the best certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is important that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Irondale AL.