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How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Classes near Athens Alabama

Athens AL CNA taking patient's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Athens AL. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the USA. Even though it may seem like a difficult undertaking, it's imperative that you pick the best school to receive the proper training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence before picking a school consists of far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects together with several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Role of a CNA

Athens AL Nursing Assistant assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Athens AL hospitals, practices and other health facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:

  • Providing basic services to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other rooms

CNAs can also work in Athens AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often reside in the facilities for extended time periods. Often, they can become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Diplomas

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Athens AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Training

Athens AL woman attending CNA online classesEnrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Training Classes

Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Athens AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Athens AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Best CNA School

Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant program is arguably the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this post, 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 using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Athens AL.