How to Choose the Best CNA College near Bessemer Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Bessemer AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in health care within the Country. Though it may well seem like a complicated endeavor, it's essential that you choose the right school to acquire the necessary training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More on that option later. But doing your due diligence before choosing a training course consists of far more than comparing the price 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 various 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 instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many jobs in the Bessemer AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Moving 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 engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people perform daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they typically reside in the facilities for prolonged time frames. In many cases, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Bessemer AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive 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 required and each state has its own requirements. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course 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 may be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Programs
Attending CNA classes online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Bessemer AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, 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). Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Training Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so 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 initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you get an excellent education and employment in the Bessemer AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps 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 reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. 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 Bessemer 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 programs you are considering 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Bessemer AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Bessemer AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right CNA School
Choosing the ideal certified nursing assistant program is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this article, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Bessemer AL.