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How to Pick the Right Nursing Assistant Program near Mobile Alabama

Mobile AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureNow 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 Mobile AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing positions in healthcare within the Country. Although it might seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's important that you choose the ideal school to receive the proper training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More concerning that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to selecting a training course requires far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those subjects as well as various other questions that you need to 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 type of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Job of a Nursing Assistant

Mobile AL Nursing Assistant helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Mobile 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 instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other areas

CNAs may also practice in Mobile AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often stay in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Frequently, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Mobile AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 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 that every state has its own requirements. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally 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. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.

Online CNA Programs

Mobile AL woman taking online CNA coursesAttending CNA schools online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Mobile AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Training Programs

Once you have decided on 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 options. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final 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 organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive a quality education and employment in the Mobile AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies 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, 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 contact some Mobile AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Mobile AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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 requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Mobile AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Enroll in the Right CNA Training

Choosing the right certified nursing assistant college is probably the most important step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are various factors that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this content, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Mobile AL.