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How to Find the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School near Florence Alabama

Florence AL CNA taking man's vital signsOnce you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Florence AL. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing positions in medical care within the USA. Although it may well seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's essential that you pick the ideal program to receive the proper training and education. A number of future students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More concerning that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before picking a program entails much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those subjects as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of a Nursing Assistant

Florence AL CNA helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Florence AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather 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 duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other areas

CNAs may also work in Florence AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they often stay in the facilities for extensive time frames. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Florence AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.

CNA Online Training

Florence AL woman taking CNA online classesAttending CNA training online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Florence AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

What to Ask CNA Colleges

Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and 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 undoubtedly realize, 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 workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 verify that you receive a premium education and employment in the Florence AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Florence 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Florence AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with local Florence AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Program

Florence AL Nursing Assistant with assisted living patientPicking the best certified nursing assistant training program is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are various factors that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have highlighted in this content, it is critical that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Florence AL.