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How to Pick the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Bessemer Alabama

Bessemer AL CNA 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 classes near Bessemer AL. After you have obtained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in medical care within the United States. Although it might seem like a difficult undertaking, it's imperative that you select the ideal program to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More about that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before deciding on a school consists of far more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues together with several other questions that you need to 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 offered.

The Duties of a Nursing Assistant

Bessemer AL Certified Nursing Assistant greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many functions in the Bessemer AL hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Providing basic services to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other rooms

CNAs can also work in Bessemer AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extended time periods. In many cases, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Bessemer AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally 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 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 might be other requirements as well.

CNA Online Programs

Bessemer AL student taking online CNA coursesAttending CNA classes online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Bessemer AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary 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). So if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Schools

Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 agency. Besides helping verify that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Bessemer AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Bessemer 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Bessemer AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Bessemer AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right CNA Program

Bessemer AL CNA with assisted living patientSelecting the ideal certified nursing assistant program is perhaps the most important step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Bessemer AL.