How to Enroll In the Best Certified Nursing Assistant School near Pell City Alabama
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Pell City AL. After you have earned your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in health care within the USA. Though it may seem like an overwhelming task, it's important that you pick the right course to obtain the proper training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More regarding that option later. But performing your due diligence before deciding on a school entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics together with several other questions that you need to 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 kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the Pell City AL hospitals, clinics and other medical 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 function under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment 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 assisting patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in Pell City AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for extended time frames. 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. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
Certified Nursing Assistant DiplomasUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Pell City AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program 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 mandated 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 period of instruction required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch 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 mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Programs
Enrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more favored way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Pell City AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education and employment in the Pell City AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered 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 specified 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 comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Pell City 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 colleges 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 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 Pell City AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Pell City AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Pell City Certified Nursing Assistant Program
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many factors that you must think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Pell City AL.