How to Select the Best CNA Course near Huntsville Alabama
Now that 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 classes near Huntsville AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the Country. Though it may seem like a daunting undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the right program to acquire the appropriate training and education. Many future students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to deciding on a training course involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those subjects together with various other questions that you need to 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many functions in the Huntsville AL hospitals, practices and other medical organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs might also practice in Huntsville AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people perform daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually reside in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they can become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education 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 mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and each state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. In addition to 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.
CNA Online Programs
Enrolling in CNA classes online is becoming a more popular way to get instruction and attain 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 carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, 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 obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Schools
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Huntsville AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies 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 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 programs 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important 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 attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local Huntsville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right CNA School
Deciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Huntsville AL.