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CNA Certification Training Classes Birmingham AL


How to Select the Best Nursing Assistant College near Birmingham Alabama

Birmingham AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking patient's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Birmingham AL. After you have earned your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in health care within the USA. Though it may seem like a difficult endeavor, it's important that you select the best course to obtain the proper training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before selecting a school involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues along with a few other questions that you should 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 training and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Birmingham AL CNA greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out 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 rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may 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
  • Transferring patients to other rooms

CNAs may also practice in Birmingham AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for extended time periods. Often, they may become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Birmingham AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and every state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets 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 certain that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Training

Birmingham AL woman taking CNA online trainingEnrolling in CNA classes online is growing into a more favored way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Birmingham AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

What to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get an excellent education and employment in the Birmingham AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often 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.  Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative 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 evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Birmingham AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites 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 Nursing Assistant with nursing home patientPicking the right certified nursing assistant school is probably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted within this post, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list 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 desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Birmingham AL.