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How to Find the Right Nursing Assistant Training Program near Homewood Alabama

Homewood AL CNA taking man's blood pressureNow that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Homewood AL. After you have obtained your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in healthcare within the USA. Though it might seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's essential that you choose the right program to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be debating 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 completing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course requires far more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those topics together with a few other questions that you need to 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 offered.

The Function of a CNA

Homewood AL Certified Nursing Assistant greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many duties in the Homewood AL hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting can include:

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

CNAs might also practice in Homewood 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 characterized as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they often stay in the facilities for extended time periods. Often, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Homewood AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the training 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 get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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 might be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Homewood AL woman taking online CNA coursesEnrolling in CNA training online is growing into a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Homewood AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited 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 hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Training Programs

Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary 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 final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • 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 organization. In addition to helping confirm that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Homewood AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Homewood 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 colleges 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Homewood AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Homewood AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Choose the Right Nurse Assistant Program

Picking the right certified nursing assistant school is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Homewood AL.