How to Pick the Best CNA School near Northport Alabama
Once you have decided to enter the medical 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 launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing positions in medical care within the USA. Although it may seem like an overwhelming task, it's essential that you choose the right course to receive the proper training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More regarding that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before selecting a school consists of much more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those subjects along with several other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Northport AL hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs might also work in Northport AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Often, they can become the conduit between the patient and the balance 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 DiplomasUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Northport AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training mandated and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills 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. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA training online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Northport AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin 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 essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the CNA certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get a quality education and employment in the Northport AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered 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. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative 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 working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Northport 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Northport AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Northport AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Northport Nurse Assistant School
Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are many aspects that you need to think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Northport AL.