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How to Select the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Hoover Alabama

Hoover AL Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsOnce 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 programs near Hoover AL. Once you have earned your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in medical care within the USA. Although it may well seem like a daunting endeavor, it's important that you pick the best program to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost 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 on that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before picking a training course requires much more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be covering those subjects as well as a few other questions that you need to 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 training and credentials that are available.

The Job of a CNA

Hoover AL CNA helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Hoover AL hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:

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

CNAs may also work in Hoover AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they typically reside in the facilities for extended time periods. Frequently, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Hoover AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Classes

Hoover AL student taking CNA online classesEnrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Hoover AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive 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 job and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Training Classes

Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably 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 decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.

  • 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. In addition to helping ensure that you get a premium education and employment in the Hoover AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 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 favorable reputation within the Hoover AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Hoover AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Choose the Best CNA Program

Hoover AL CNA with nursing home residentChoosing the right certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most critical step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you must consider when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Hoover AL.