How to Find the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Athens Alabama
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Athens AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding positions in healthcare within the United States. Even though it might seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's essential that you choose the ideal school to receive the appropriate training and education. A number of potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to choosing a program consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers 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 register in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out 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 rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs may also practice 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 perform daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often reside in the facilities for extended time frames. In many cases, they may become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Athens AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it's important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip 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 mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Classes
Attending CNA schools 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 virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Training Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see 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 agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Athens AL area, it may assist in securing 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Athens AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check 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 School
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are many variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is essential that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Athens AL.