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CNA Certification Training Classes Birmingham AL


How to Select the Best Nursing Assistant Course near Birmingham Alabama

Birmingham AL CNA taking man's vital signsNow 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 finding CNA training programs near Birmingham AL. After you have obtained your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in medical care within the Country. Even though it may well seem like a difficult endeavor, it's essential that you pick the best school to acquire the necessary training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More regarding that option later. But performing your due diligence before selecting a program involves far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues together with a few 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 kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Birmingham AL CNA assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other areas

CNAs might also work in Birmingham AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically reside in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Frequently, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Birmingham AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and that each state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Training

Birmingham AL student attending online CNA coursesEnrolling in CNA training online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Birmingham AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number 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 practical solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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 family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

What to Ask CNA Schools

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. 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 pick compares to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education and employment in the Birmingham AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check 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 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 displeased 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 superb reputation within the Birmingham AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • 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 certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right Nurse Assistant Program

Birmingham AL CNA with nursing home patientChoosing the ideal certified nursing assistant school is arguably the most important step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this post, it is important 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 produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Birmingham AL.