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How to Find the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Northport Alabama

Northport Alabama Nursing Assistant reading blood pressure of male patientOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Northport AL. Once you have attained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing positions in health care within the Country. Though it may seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's essential that you pick the right school to obtain the necessary training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price 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 about that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before deciding on a program consists of much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those issues together with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Northport Alabama CNA helping patient on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Northport AL hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Administering basic care to patients
  • Taking 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 may also practice in Northport AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. 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 most people perform daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they typically reside in the facilities for extended periods of time. Often, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

Certified Nursing Assistant Certificates

In 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 Northport AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 minimum period of instruction directed and each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Courses

Northport Alabama Certified Nursing Assistant holding patient medical chartEnrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Northport AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as 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 undoubtedly are aware, there are many 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 workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Northport AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Northport 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 colleges 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 dissatisfied 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 Northport AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Northport AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Find Out More About Northport CNA Schools

Enroll in the Right Northport Certified Nursing Assistant Program

Deciding on the right certified nursing assistant program is probably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this post, it is essential that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Northport AL.


 

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