How to Pick the Right CNA School near Athens Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Athens AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in medical care within the Country. Although it may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's imperative that you select the best course to obtain the necessary 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 may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More regarding that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before picking a program requires far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those topics along with various other questions that you should 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 type of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Athens AL hospitals, practices and other health care facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may 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 areas
CNAs can also work in Athens AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people carry out daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often stay in the facilities for extended periods of time. Often, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction 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 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise 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 certain 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 additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Programs
Attending CNA classes online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a quality education and employment in the Athens AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, 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 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 looking at 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right CNA Program
Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant college is probably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Athens AL.