How to Pick the Right CNA School near Athens Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA classes near Athens AL. After you have earned your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing positions in health care within the United States. Although it might seem like a difficult task, it's important that you choose the right program to receive the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students start 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 regarding that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before choosing a training course entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those subjects together with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Athens AL hospitals, practices and other medical organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they function under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice in Athens AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people carry out daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for extensive time frames. In many cases, they can become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Athens AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive 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 instruction required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Classes
Enrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and attain a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm 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 oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies 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 contact some Athens 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 colleges 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right CNA Training
Deciding on the best certified nursing assistant school is probably the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various aspects that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Athens AL.