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How to Select the Right CNA School near Selma Alabama

Selma Alabama CNA taking blood pressure of male patientOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Selma AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in health care within the Country. Even though it may seem like a difficult endeavor, it's imperative that you select the right school to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that option later. But performing your due diligence before selecting a training course involves far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics 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 training and credentials that are offered.

The Function of a Nursing Assistant

Selma Alabama Nursing Assistant helping patient on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Selma AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other areas

CNAs might also work in Selma AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they typically stay in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. In many cases, they can become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships 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 Certificates

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Selma AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and that each state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Programs

Selma Alabama CNA holding patient health chartEnrolling in CNA classes online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Selma AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask Certified Nursing Assistant Colleges

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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 organization. Besides helping confirm that you get a premium education and employment in the Selma AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Selma 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Selma AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Selma AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn More About Selma CNA Colleges

Enroll in the Right Selma Certified Nursing Assistant Training

Selecting the best certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this post, it is essential 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 checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick 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 certified nursing assistant in Selma AL.


 

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