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How to Find the Right Nursing Assistant Course 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 start the process of searching for CNA classes near Homewood AL. Once you have attained your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding positions in healthcare within the USA. Although it may well seem like a challenging endeavor, it's imperative that you pick the right course to acquire the appropriate training and education. Many potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More about that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before deciding on a training course requires far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those topics along with various 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 kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Function of a Nursing Assistant

Homewood AL Certified Nursing Assistant helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Homewood AL hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather 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 main job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other areas

CNAs can also work in Homewood AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they typically reside in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Homewood AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 sure 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 may be additional prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Schools

Homewood AL student taking CNA online trainingEnrolling in CNA training online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Homewood AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

What to Ask CNA Colleges

Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education and employment in the Homewood AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 programs 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Homewood AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements 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.

Enroll in the Best CNA Program

Homewood AL CNA with nursing home patientDeciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are various aspects that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Homewood AL.