How to Select the Best CNA College near Pelham 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 searching for CNA training programs near Pelham AL. Once you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the Country. Although it may seem like a daunting task, it's important that you choose the ideal school to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More about that option later. But performing your due diligence before deciding on a training course involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics along with several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many functions in the Pelham AL hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Reading 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 rooms
CNAs can also practice in Pelham AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. In many cases, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Pelham AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and every state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the program 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 sure that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Classes
Enrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Pelham AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted 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 free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of 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 mentioned, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education and employment in the Pelham AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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. Some 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 prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, 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 contact some Pelham 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 looking at 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Pelham AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Pelham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Pelham Certified Nursing Assistant School
Enrolling in the right certified nursing assistant degree program is perhaps the most critical phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is critical that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Pelham AL.