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How to Pick the Best Certified Nursing Assistant School near Homewood Alabama

Homewood AL Nursing Assistant 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 begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Homewood AL. After you have earned your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in health care within the United States. Although it may well seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's essential that you choose the ideal school to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More regarding that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to deciding on a program consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those topics along with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Function of a Nursing Assistant

Homewood AL CNA assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many functions in the Homewood AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:

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

CNAs might also practice in Homewood AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, 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 perform daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extended periods of time. Often, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Homewood AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and each state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make sure 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 certain that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Homewood AL woman attending CNA online coursesAttending CNA classes online is becoming a more popular way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Homewood AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Colleges

Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, 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 select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.

  • 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. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Homewood AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, check with 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 programs you are considering 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 displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Homewood AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Homewood AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Right Nurse Assistant School

Picking the best certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most critical phase to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing 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.