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How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Course near Montgomery Alabama

Montgomery AL Nursing Assistant taking patient's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Montgomery AL. Once you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in health care within the United States. Though it may seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's essential that you choose the right course to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to deciding on a school requires far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those issues together with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin 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 CNA

Montgomery AL Certified Nursing Assistant helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Montgomery AL hospitals, practices and other health organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they function under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:

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

CNAs may also practice in Montgomery AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extended time periods. Frequently, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

In contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Montgomery AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and that every state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills 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 certain that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Montgomery AL student attending online CNA trainingAttending CNA programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Montgomery AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option 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 less costly than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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). Therefore if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Programs

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 checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Montgomery AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Montgomery AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 substantiate 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 attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Find out if the schools have associations with local Montgomery AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant Program

Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care field. There are a number of aspects that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select 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 CNA in Montgomery AL.