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How to Choose the Right Nursing Assistant Course near Athens Alabama

Athens AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Athens AL. Once you have earned your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Though it may well seem like a difficult endeavor, it's imperative that you choose the right program to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be debating 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 doing your due diligence before selecting a training course requires much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those issues along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll 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 offered.

The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Athens AL Nursing Assistant assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many duties in the Athens AL hospitals, practices and other medical facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other rooms

CNAs may also work 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 characterized as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for extended periods of time. Frequently, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

Unlike some 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 training program 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 mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must 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 necessary to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also 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 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 can be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Programs

Athens AL woman attending online CNA classesEnrolling in CNA training online is becoming a more in demand way to receive training and earn a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount 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 accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school and the cost 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 ultimate 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a premium 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 prerequisites for CNAs differ 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 important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out 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 judgements 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Athens AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Enroll in the Best CNA Training

Selecting the best certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most important phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist 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 right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Athens AL.