How to Find the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Dothan Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Dothan AL. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in healthcare within the USA. Although it may seem like a challenging task, it's important that you select the right school to acquire the proper training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More regarding that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before choosing a training course consists of much more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be covering those issues as well as various other questions that you should be asking before you enroll 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 duties in the Dothan AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in Dothan 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 identified as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually remain in the facilities for extensive time periods. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Dothan AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain 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 may be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Programs
Attending CNA programs online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Dothan AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Dothan AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Dothan 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Dothan AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Dothan AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best Nurse Assistant Program
Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most critical first step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you should take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Dothan AL.