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How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School near Mobile Alabama

Mobile AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking patient's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Mobile AL. Once you have obtained your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in health care within the United States. Even though it may seem like a difficult task, it's imperative that you choose the best school to receive the necessary training and education. Many potential students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More concerning that option later. But completing your due diligence before choosing a program requires much more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues along with a few 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 CNA

Mobile AL Certified Nursing Assistant greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Mobile AL hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations 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 management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:

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

CNAs might also work in Mobile AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Diplomas

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Mobile AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain 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 period of training mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Classes

Mobile AL woman taking CNA online classesAttending CNA schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Mobile AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, some 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 economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Training Programs

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you get a premium education and employment in the Mobile AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs differ 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 important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Mobile AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Find out if the schools have associations with local Mobile AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Enroll in the Right Nurse Assistant School

Mobile AL Nursing Assistant with nursing home residentDeciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted within this content, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Mobile AL.