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How to Enroll In the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Decatur Alabama

Decatur AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureOnce you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Decatur AL. After you have obtained your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Although it may seem like a daunting undertaking, it's essential that you choose the ideal program to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many future students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before deciding on a training course entails far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those topics together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.

The Function of a Nursing Assistant

Decatur AL CNA greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many functions in the Decatur AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other rooms

CNAs can also work in Decatur AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Decatur AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also 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 education 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 may be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Training

Decatur AL student taking CNA online coursesAttending CNA schools online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Decatur AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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). Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask CNA Programs

Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the field.

  • 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 organization. Besides helping confirm that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Decatur AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 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 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 confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Decatur AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Decatur AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Right CNA Training

Choosing the right certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most important step to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are numerous factors that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create 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 certified nursing assistant in Decatur AL.