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How to Find the Right Nursing Assistant Training Program near Northport Alabama

Northport AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking patient's blood pressureNow that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Northport AL. After you have attained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the Country. Though it might seem like a complicated undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the best school to obtain the proper training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most essential 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 course and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence before choosing a program consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those subjects as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Role of a CNA

Northport AL Nursing Assistant helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Northport AL hospitals, practices and other health facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Reading 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 Northport AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically reside in the facilities for extensive time periods. Frequently, they can become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Northport AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction 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 have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training directed and each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise 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 training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Programs

Northport AL student attending CNA online coursesAttending CNA training online is emerging as a more preferred way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Northport AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

What to Ask CNA Programs

Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout 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 pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the other programs.

  • 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 confirm that you receive a quality education and employment in the Northport AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, 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 Northport 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 considering 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Northport AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Northport AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Program

Choosing the ideal certified nursing assistant program is arguably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized in this content, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Northport AL.