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How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School near Hoover Alabama

Hoover AL Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsNow that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Hoover AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in healthcare within the Country. Though it may seem like a daunting endeavor, it's imperative that you pick the best course to receive the appropriate training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More about that option later. But performing your due diligence before selecting a training course consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics together with several other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Hoover AL CNA helping man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Hoover AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:

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

CNAs can also work in Hoover AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Frequently, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Hoover AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Schools

Hoover AL student attending online CNA coursesEnrolling in CNA training online is becoming a more favored way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Hoover AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask CNA Training Programs

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Hoover AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, 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 contact some Hoover 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 dissatisfied 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 Hoover AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Hoover AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant Program

Hoover AL CNA with assisted living residentChoosing the best certified nursing assistant school is perhaps the most critical first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Hoover AL.