How to Find the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Birmingham 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 classes near Birmingham AL. Once you have earned your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in medical care within the United States. Even though it may seem like a challenging undertaking, it's important that you pick the right course to obtain the proper training and education. A number of 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 debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before deciding on a training course entails much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those topics together with several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll 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 complete many tasks in the Birmingham AL hospitals, practices and other medical organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other rooms
CNAs might also work in Birmingham AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they often stay in the facilities for extensive time periods. Frequently, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Birmingham AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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 period of instruction directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally 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 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 can be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Training
Attending CNA training online is emerging as a more favored way to get training 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 call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Training Classes
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout 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 workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 agency. Besides helping confirm that you get an excellent 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 important 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 relationships to assist students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with local Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best CNA School
Deciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Birmingham AL.