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How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Classes near Dothan Alabama

Dothan AL CNA taking man's vital signsNow that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA classes near Dothan AL. Once you have earned your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in healthcare within the USA. Though it might seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's essential that you select the ideal course to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of 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 considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before picking a program requires far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those issues along with several other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk 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

Dothan AL Nursing Assistant assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Dothan 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. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other areas

CNAs can also practice in Dothan AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, 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 assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for prolonged time frames. In many cases, they may become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

Unlike 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 can take anywhere from 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 need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and that every state has its own requirements. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Programs

Dothan AL student taking online CNA classesAttending CNA schools online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Dothan AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family commitments have left you with very little 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 active schedule.

What to Ask CNA Programs

Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a quality education and employment in the Dothan AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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.  Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Dothan 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 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 essential 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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 setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Dothan AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Best CNA Program

Selecting the best certified nursing assistant degree program is arguably the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are various aspects that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Dothan AL.