How to Find the Right Nursing Assistant College near Birmingham Alabama
Once 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. After you have obtained your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in medical care within the USA. Though it may seem like a complicated undertaking, it's important that you pick the ideal school to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More about that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to selecting a program requires far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those topics as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Birmingham AL hospitals, practices and other medical 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 direction and oversight 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 duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice in Birmingham AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often stay in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Frequently, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesIn contrast to 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 duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally 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 is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Classes
Enrolling in CNA training online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Birmingham AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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 work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Courses
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 organization. Besides helping confirm that you receive a premium education and employment in the Birmingham AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 schools 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Birmingham AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with local Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Best CNA Program
Deciding on the best certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous variables that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you select 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 short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Birmingham AL.