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How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Madison Alabama

Madison AL Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureNow that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA classes near Madison AL. Once you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in healthcare within the Country. Although it may seem like an overwhelming task, it's imperative that you choose the ideal school to acquire the appropriate training and education. Many future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More about that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to picking a school entails far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those topics together with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Madison AL CNA greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Madison AL hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since 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 role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Administering basic care to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other rooms

CNAs may also work in Madison AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they often remain in the facilities for extended periods of time. Often, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Madison AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three 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 need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that every state has its own requirements. So it's important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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 may be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Madison AL student attending online CNA coursesEnrolling in CNA classes online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Madison AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

What to Ask CNA Colleges

Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you get an excellent education and employment in the Madison AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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.  Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies 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 reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Madison 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Madison AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Madison AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Pick the Right CNA Training

Madison AL CNA with nursing home patientDeciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you need to consider when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Madison AL.