HOME >> ALABAMA >> BIRMINGHAM >> CNA PROGRAMS


CNA Certification Training Classes Birmingham AL


How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School near Birmingham Alabama

Birmingham AL CNA taking man's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Birmingham AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing positions in healthcare within the Country. Although it may well seem like a daunting endeavor, it's essential that you choose the right school to receive the necessary training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most fundamental 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 at home. More on that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to deciding on a school consists of far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those issues together with a few 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 available.

The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Birmingham AL CNA greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Birmingham AL hospitals, practices and other medical organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Administering basic care to patients
  • Reading 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 might also practice in Birmingham AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically reside in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Diplomas

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Birmingham AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also 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 course 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 might be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Training

Birmingham AL woman attending CNA online coursesEnrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and earn a certificate or diploma in Birmingham AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly 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 numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is an important component of any Birmingham AL medical team. In fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of residents or patients of the medical agency or facility that he or she works for. CNAs also assist with ADLs such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA reports to a nurse, typically a Registerd Nurse. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their observations about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically demanding, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect profession for those who like to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with respect and dignity.

Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs

What to Ask Birmingham AL CNA training programsNow that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you get a premium education and employment in the Birmingham AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different 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 satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find 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 judgements are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA colleges you are looking at 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Birmingham AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Choose the Right CNA Program

Birmingham AL Nursing Assistant with assisted living residentSelecting the best certified nursing assistant college is arguably the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out in this content, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Birmingham AL.