How to Enroll In the Right CNA Classes near Florence Alabama
Once 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. Once you have attained your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding positions in health care within the United States. Though it may well seem like a challenging endeavor, it's essential that you select the best program to receive the necessary training and education. A number of potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More on that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to deciding on a program consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics as well as various other questions that you need to 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 offered.
The Role of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many duties in the Florence AL hospitals, practices and other health organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in Florence AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often reside in the facilities for extensive time frames. Often, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Florence AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 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 period of training mandated and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Schools
Attending CNA schools online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Florence AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous 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 pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have decided on 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 begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you receive a quality education and employment in the Florence AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy 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 each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 colleges 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 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Florence AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Find out if the schools have associations with local Florence AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right CNA School
Choosing the best certified nursing assistant school is perhaps the most crucial step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you need to consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate 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.