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How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Homewood Alabama

Homewood AL CNA taking man's blood pressureOnce 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 Homewood AL. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the Country. Even though it may seem like a daunting task, it's imperative that you pick the best school to acquire the necessary training and education. A number of potential students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to picking a program involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin 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 Nursing Assistant

Homewood AL CNA assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many jobs in the Homewood AL hospitals, practices and other health facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they function under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other rooms

CNAs can also work in Homewood AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extended time frames. In many cases, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Homewood AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training 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 have 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 minimum amount of training directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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 might be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Programs

Homewood AL woman taking online CNA classesAttending CNA programs online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Homewood AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more 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 limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Training Classes

Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Homewood AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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.  Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Homewood 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 considering 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Homewood AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Homewood AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Choose the Best CNA School

Deciding on the right certified nursing assistant school is arguably the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you must consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using 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 proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Homewood AL.