How to Pick the Right CNA School near Mobile Alabama
Once you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Mobile AL. Once you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding positions in health care within the United States. Although it may well seem like a daunting endeavor, it's important that you select the ideal school to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a program consists of far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be covering those topics along with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the Mobile AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs may also practice in Mobile AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often stay in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. In many cases, they may 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 beneficial resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Mobile AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three 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 training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 can be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Classes
Enrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more preferred way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Mobile AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping ensure that you receive a premium education and employment in the Mobile AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Mobile 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 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 displeased 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 superb reputation within the Mobile AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Mobile AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Training
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the healthcare field. There are many variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding 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 select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Mobile AL.