How to Enroll In the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Classes near Birmingham Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Birmingham AL. Once you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in healthcare within the USA. Although it may well seem like a complicated task, it's imperative that you select the best program to acquire the proper training and education. Many future students begin with the two most basic 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 about that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to picking a training course entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects along with several other questions that you should 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 Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in Birmingham AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, 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 help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically stay in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Birmingham AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies 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 training is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Schools
Attending CNA training online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Birmingham AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Birmingham AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Birmingham AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 good reputation within the Birmingham AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right CNA Training
Choosing the ideal certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most critical step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this content, it is critical that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Birmingham AL.