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How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Assistant Training Program near Alabaster Alabama

Alabaster AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking patient's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Alabaster AL. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in health care within the United States. Although it might seem like an overwhelming task, it's essential that you pick the ideal program to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a school involves much more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be covering those issues together with several other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll 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 Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Alabaster AL Certified Nursing Assistant assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the Alabaster AL hospitals, practices and other health organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other areas

CNAs can also work in Alabaster AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Often, they can become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Diplomas

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need 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 just one to 3 months, resulting in 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 must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally 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 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 other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Training

Alabaster AL student taking online CNA trainingEnrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Alabaster AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Colleges

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • 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. Besides helping make sure that you get a premium education and employment in the Alabaster AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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.  Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Alabaster AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best CNA School

Alabaster AL Nursing Assistant with nursing home residentChoosing the best certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many aspects that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using 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 hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Alabaster AL.