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How to Find the Best CNA College near Mobile Alabama

Mobile AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking patient's blood pressureNow that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Mobile AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding positions in healthcare within the United States. Even though it may seem like a complicated task, it's imperative that you select the best course to receive the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More regarding that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before picking a training course consists of much more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those topics along with several other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin 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 Certified Nursing Assistant

Mobile AL Certified Nursing Assistant assisting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Mobile AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other areas

CNAs may also work in Mobile AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extended time frames. Often, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Mobile AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain 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 training required and that each state has its own requirements. So it's important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. Along with 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 Training

Mobile AL woman attending online CNA classesEnrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Mobile AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Why Become a CNA?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a critical member of any Mobile AL medical team. As a matter of fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of patients or residents of the medical agency or facility that she or he is employed by. CNAs also help with activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a team member, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their observations about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including lifting, positioning, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for people who love to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with dignity and respect.

Questions to Ask CNA Training Programs

Questions to Ask Mobile AL CNA schoolsOnce you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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. In addition to helping verify that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Mobile AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria 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 completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find 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 finish 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Mobile AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get 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 prerequisites for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Mobile AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Pick the Right CNA Training

Mobile AL Nursing Assistant with assisted living patientEnrolling in the right certified nursing assistant school is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this content, 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 utilizing 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 CNA in Mobile AL.