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How to Select the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Course near Alabaster Alabama

Alabaster AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Alabaster AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the United States. Though it may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's essential that you select the best program to receive the necessary training and education. A number of future students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence before picking a program consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be covering those topics as well as a few other questions that you need to 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a CNA

Alabaster AL CNA greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other areas

CNAs may also work in Alabaster AL nursing homes or long term care centers. 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 restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Often, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Alabaster AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to 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 must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and every state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also 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 sure that the training course is state certified. Along with 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.

Online CNA Schools

Alabaster AL woman taking CNA online classesAttending CNA classes online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction 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 call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Training Classes

Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines 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 lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education and employment in the Alabaster AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Alabaster 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Alabaster AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Pick the Right Nurse Assistant School

Alabaster AL CNA with nursing home residentPicking the ideal certified nursing assistant program is probably the most crucial step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each 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 pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Alabaster AL.