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

Alabaster AL Nursing Assistant taking patient's blood pressureNow 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 classes near Alabaster AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in medical care within the United States. Though it may well seem like a complicated undertaking, it's imperative that you pick the ideal program to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a training course requires far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing 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 type of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of a Nursing Assistant

Alabaster AL CNA assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other rooms

CNAs can also work in Alabaster AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they typically reside in the facilities for extensive periods of time. In many cases, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Diplomas

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Alabaster AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. As well as 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.

CNA Online Classes

Alabaster AL woman attending online CNA trainingAttending CNA schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Alabaster AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask CNA Schools

Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist 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 important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you get a quality education and employment in the Alabaster AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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 enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, 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 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Alabaster AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Right Nurse Assistant School

Choosing the ideal certified nursing assistant school is probably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this article, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list 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 dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Alabaster AL.