How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Huntsville Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Huntsville AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in healthcare within the USA. Though it may well seem like a difficult endeavor, it's essential that you pick the best course to acquire the proper training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before picking a program involves much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those topics as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you register 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 available.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Huntsville AL hospitals, practices 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. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs might also practice in Huntsville AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people carry out daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Frequently, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Huntsville AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. As well as 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 Schools
Attending CNA schools online is growing into a more preferred way to get instruction 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 specific number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional 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). Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout 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 and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you get a premium 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check 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 programs 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 confirm that the school has a good 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 most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Huntsville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Right Nurse Assistant Program
Selecting the best certified nursing assistant college is probably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is critical that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Huntsville AL.