How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Prattville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Prattville AL. Once you have obtained your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in medical care within the United States. Though it may seem like a challenging task, it's essential that you select the ideal program to acquire the proper 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 may additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More concerning that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before choosing a school involves much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues as well as several 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 available.
The Duties of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Prattville AL hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Taking 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 might also practice in Prattville 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 characterized as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Often, they may become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
Certified Nursing Assistant CoursesUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Prattville AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 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 instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 education is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA classes online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Prattville AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask Certified Nursing Assistant Training Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the CNA certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Prattville AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit 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 as well. Also, check 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 Prattville 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 Prattville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Prattville CNA Training
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Prattville AL.