How to Enroll In the Right CNA Program near Birmingham 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 training classes near Birmingham AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing positions in healthcare within the USA. Even though it might seem like a challenging endeavor, it's important that you pick the ideal school to receive the necessary training and education. Many potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More on that option later. But completing your due diligence before choosing a school requires much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those topics as well as several 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 kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many jobs in the Birmingham AL hospitals, practices and other health facilities 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 management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs can also practice in Birmingham AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically reside in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge 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 have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Birmingham AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated 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 amount of instruction mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise 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 sure that the training is state certified. 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 prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Birmingham AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Training Classes
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 agency. Aside from helping make sure that you receive a quality education and employment in the Birmingham AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Birmingham 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with local Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Nurse Assistant School
Choosing the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are various variables that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Birmingham AL.