How to Find the Right CNA School near Montgomery Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Montgomery AL. Once you have earned your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in health care within the USA. Even though it may well seem like a daunting undertaking, it's essential that you select the best school to receive the proper training and education. Many future students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More on that option later. But doing your due diligence before choosing a school involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those issues as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Montgomery AL hospitals, clinics and other healthcare facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in Montgomery AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they typically stay in the facilities for extended time frames. In many cases, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Montgomery AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training 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 required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and that each state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make sure 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 get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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 can be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Classes
Attending CNA programs online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Montgomery AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- 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 agency. In addition to helping confirm that you get an excellent education and employment in the Montgomery AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides 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 online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also important 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Montgomery AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant Program
Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most critical step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous aspects that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Montgomery AL.