How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Smiths Station 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 programs near Smiths Station AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in medical care within the USA. Though it may seem like a difficult endeavor, it's important that you select the right course to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most essential 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 at home. More regarding that alternative later. But performing your due diligence prior to choosing a school consists of far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be covering those topics together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register 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 carry out many functions in the Smiths Station AL hospitals, practices and other health organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other rooms
CNAs might also work in Smiths Station 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 people carry out daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they often reside in the facilities for extensive time frames. Often, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Smiths Station AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and that each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also 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. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Classes
Enrolling in CNA training online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Smiths Station AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. 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 pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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. Besides helping confirm that you receive a quality education and employment in the Smiths Station AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services 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, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Smiths Station 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 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 superb reputation within the Smiths Station AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Smiths Station AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Smiths Station CNA Training
Enrolling in the right certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most important phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist 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 drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Smiths Station AL.