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How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Classes near Decatur Alabama

Decatur AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Decatur AL. After you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in medical care within the Country. Even though it might seem like a daunting endeavor, it's important that you choose the ideal program to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price 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 on that alternative later. But doing your due diligence prior to deciding on a training course 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 addressing those topics as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Duties of a Nursing Assistant

Decatur AL Certified Nursing Assistant assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Decatur AL hospitals, practices and other health care 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 work under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:

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

CNAs can also practice in Decatur AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they can become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Decatur AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Programs

Decatur AL woman taking CNA online trainingEnrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more favored way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Decatur AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out 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 free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Training Programs

Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers 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 important to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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. Besides helping make sure that you get a quality education and employment in the Decatur AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs differ 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 prepares you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Decatur 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 programs you are looking at 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Decatur AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Decatur AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant School

Decatur AL CNA with assisted living patientEnrolling in the right certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most crucial step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Decatur AL.