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How to Choose the Right CNA Program near Alabaster Alabama

Alabaster AL Nursing Assistant taking patient's blood pressureNow that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA classes near Alabaster AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding positions in healthcare within the USA. Although it may well seem like a difficult endeavor, it's imperative that you select the best program to obtain the proper training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a program requires much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be covering those subjects together with several other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Job of a Nursing Assistant

Alabaster AL CNA assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs 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 rather are certified. Given that 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 role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:

  • Furnishing basic services 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
  • Transporting patients to other rooms

CNAs can also practice in Alabaster AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people carry out daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically reside in the facilities for extensive time frames. In many cases, they can become the channel 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 valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Alabaster AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 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 instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.

CNA Online Schools

Alabaster AL woman attending online CNA trainingEnrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Alabaster AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Training Programs

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start 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 reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location 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 only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies 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 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 superb reputation within the Alabaster AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Ask 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 Best CNA School

Enrolling in the right certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Alabaster AL.