How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Assistant College near Huntsville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Huntsville AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly increasing positions in healthcare within the USA. Though it may seem like a challenging endeavor, it's essential that you pick the best school to acquire the proper training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before picking a training course involves much more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be covering those subjects as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Huntsville AL hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs may also work in Huntsville AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people carry out daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extensive time periods. In many cases, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have 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 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 instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. In addition to 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 Schools
Enrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Huntsville AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
What to Ask CNA Training Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Huntsville AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. 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 Huntsville AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 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 superb reputation within the Huntsville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Huntsville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Nurse Assistant Program
Enrolling in the right certified nursing assistant school is perhaps the most crucial step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Huntsville AL.