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How to Find the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Athens Alabama

Athens 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 training classes near Athens AL. Once you have obtained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in healthcare within the Country. Even though it might seem like a difficult undertaking, it's important that you pick the ideal course to receive the proper training and education. A number of potential students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before choosing a school involves much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Function of a CNA

Athens AL CNA helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Athens AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare 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 perform under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other areas

CNAs might also practice in Athens AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Athens AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just 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 instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Schools

Athens AL student attending online CNA coursesEnrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Training Classes

Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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. In addition to helping verify that you get an excellent education and employment in the Athens AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 schools you are considering what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish 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 good reputation within the Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements 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.

Enroll in the Best CNA School

Athens AL Nursing Assistant with assisted living residentChoosing the right certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most critical step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you need to take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Athens AL.