How to Find the Best CNA School near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Now that 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 Vestavia Hills AL. After you have earned your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly increasing positions in healthcare within the USA. Though it may well seem like a complicated endeavor, it's important that you pick the best school to acquire the proper training and education. Many future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More regarding that alternative later. But performing your due diligence prior to choosing a school requires much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those subjects along with several other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in Vestavia Hills 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 characterized as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Vestavia Hills AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to 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 need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 certain that the training is state certified. Along with 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.
Online CNA Courses
Attending CNA programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Vestavia Hills AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified 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 accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask Certified Nursing Assistant Training Classes
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you get a premium education and employment in the Vestavia Hills AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. 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 Vestavia Hills 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 programs 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Vestavia Hills AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Vestavia Hills CNA School
Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most critical step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Vestavia Hills AL.