How to Choose the Right CNA Course near Decatur Alabama
Now that 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 Decatur AL. After you have attained your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in health care within the Country. Though it may seem like a difficult task, it's imperative that you select the right school to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of future students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More about that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to deciding on a training course involves much more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, 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 Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Decatur AL hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities 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 perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping 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 Decatur 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 defined as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for extended time periods. Often, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Decatur AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one 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 instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and that each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make certain 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 check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Training
Enrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Decatur AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Training Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Decatur AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check 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 assessments 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy 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 Decatur AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with local Decatur AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right CNA Training
Choosing the ideal certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most critical step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Decatur AL.