How to Enroll In the Right CNA College 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 finding CNA training classes near Birmingham AL. Once you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in medical care within the USA. Although it may seem like a complicated undertaking, it's imperative that you select the right course to acquire the proper training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence before deciding on a school requires much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those subjects together with several other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll 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 offered.
The Job of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many duties in the Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs might also work in Birmingham 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 defined as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often remain in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Frequently, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Birmingham AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 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 minimum period of instruction required and that every state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Classes
Enrolling in CNA classes online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Birmingham AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary 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 and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Birmingham AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA colleges 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 dissatisfied 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 good reputation within the Birmingham AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with local Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Best CNA School
Selecting the right certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are many aspects that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Birmingham AL.