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How to Find the Best Nursing Assistant Training Program near Hoover Alabama

Hoover AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking patient's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Hoover AL. Once you have achieved your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in medical care within the USA. Although it might seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's important that you choose the ideal course to acquire the necessary training and education. Many future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More regarding that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to picking a school entails 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 issues along with 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 Certified Nursing Assistant

Hoover AL Nursing Assistant greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many jobs in the Hoover AL hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations 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 guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:

  • Providing basic services to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other rooms

CNAs might also work in Hoover AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Often, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Hoover AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction 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 required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and every 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 contact 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 other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Schools

Hoover AL student attending online CNA classesAttending CNA training online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Hoover AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

What to Ask CNA Schools

Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers 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 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 along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your pick 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 agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Hoover AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some 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 a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Hoover AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with local Hoover AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant School

Enrolling in the best certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most critical first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Hoover AL.