How to Select the Best CNA Course near Alabaster 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 training programs near Alabaster AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in healthcare within the Country. Although it may well seem like a difficult undertaking, it's important that you pick the best course to receive the appropriate training and education. A number of potential 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 program and attend them from home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before deciding on a program consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those issues along with a few other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Alabaster 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 direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in Alabaster AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people carry out daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for extensive time frames. Frequently, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Alabaster AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training required and every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make sure that the 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 check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Classes
Enrolling in CNA classes online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Alabaster AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the price 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 sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping make sure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Alabaster AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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. Certain 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 a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Alabaster 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 good reputation within the Alabaster AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right CNA Program
Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this content, it is important that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Alabaster AL.