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How to Choose the Best Nursing Assistant Training Program near Montgomery Alabama

Montgomery AL Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsNow that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Montgomery AL. After you have attained your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in medical care within the United States. Even though it might seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's important that you pick the best course to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More concerning that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a program consists of far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those issues together with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.

The Duties of a Nursing Assistant

Montgomery AL Certified Nursing Assistant greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Montgomery AL hospitals, practices and other health care organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Measuring patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Moving 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 assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often remain in the facilities for extensive time frames. Often, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Montgomery AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also 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 certified. Along with the training, each state requires 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 woman taking CNA online trainingEnrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and earn a certificate or diploma in Montgomery AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Should You Become a CNA?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is a critical component of any Montgomery AL healthcare organization. As a matter of fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of residents or patients of the medical agency or facility that he or she works for. CNAs also assist with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA reports to a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The work can be physically challenging, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for people who like to keep busy and help people while treating them with respect and dignity.

Things to Ask CNA Training Programs

What to Ask Montgomery AL CNA programsNow that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely 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 ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you receive a quality education and employment in the Montgomery AL area, it may assist 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.  Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find 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 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with local Montgomery AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right CNA Program

Montgomery AL CNA with nursing home patientChoosing the best certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most critical step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out in this content, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Montgomery AL.