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How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Montgomery Alabama

Montgomery AL CNA taking man's vital signsNow that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Montgomery AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in health care within the USA. Although it may well seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the right school to obtain the necessary 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 may also be contemplating 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 doing your due diligence before selecting a program entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of a CNA

Montgomery AL Nursing Assistant greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Montgomery AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare organizations 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 work under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital setting can include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other rooms

CNAs might also work in Montgomery AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often remain in the facilities for extended periods of time. In many cases, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Montgomery 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. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Classes

Montgomery AL student taking CNA online coursesEnrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Montgomery AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Schools

Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the cost 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 sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Montgomery AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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.  Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Montgomery 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 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Montgomery AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Montgomery AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Pick the Right CNA Training

Montgomery AL CNA with assisted living patientEnrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant college is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous factors that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Montgomery AL.