How to Choose the Best CNA School near Huntsville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Huntsville AL. After you have obtained your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing positions in medical care within the Country. Even though it might seem like a difficult endeavor, it's imperative that you pick the right program to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be considering 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 prior to deciding on a school entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those topics together with several other questions that you need to 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 kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Huntsville 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 direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment 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 aiding patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other rooms
CNAs can also work in Huntsville 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 identified as routine activities that most people carry out daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extended time frames. Often, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Huntsville AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 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 training directed and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally 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 is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Classes
Attending CNA classes online is growing into a more popular way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Huntsville AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly 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 many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household obligations 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 active schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.
- 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 agency. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Huntsville AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Huntsville 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 schools 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 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 Huntsville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Huntsville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Nurse Assistant Program
Enrolling in the best certified nursing assistant college is arguably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you need to take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Huntsville AL.