How to Enroll In the Right CNA Course near Dothan Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Dothan AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly increasing positions in medical care within the Country. Although it may seem like a complicated undertaking, it's important that you choose the ideal course to receive the proper training and education. Many future students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More on that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before deciding on a program involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those subjects together with several 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 Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Dothan AL hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other rooms
CNAs can also work in Dothan 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 identified as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they often remain in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they may become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Dothan AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have 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 instruction required and that each state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain 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 can be other prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Classes
Enrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Dothan AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other 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 job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a premium education and employment in the Dothan AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Dothan AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 complete 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Dothan AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with local Dothan AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Program
Selecting the right certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Dothan AL.