How to Enroll In the Right CNA Classes near Montgomery Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Montgomery AL. After you have attained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in health care within the Country. Although it may seem like an overwhelming task, it's important that you pick the right program to obtain the appropriate 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 considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that alternative later. But doing your due diligence prior to choosing a school entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those issues together with a few other questions that you need to 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 instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Montgomery 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 perform under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Furnishing basic services 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
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in Montgomery 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 characterized as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often remain in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they can become 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 expertise can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Montgomery AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to 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 have 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 specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Programs
Enrolling in CNA training online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Montgomery AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part 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 can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Montgomery AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, 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 Montgomery 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 finish 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 Montgomery AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Montgomery AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Nurse Assistant Training
Deciding on the right certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using 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 final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Montgomery AL.