How to Enroll In the Best Nursing Assistant School near Northport Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA classes near Northport AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the Country. Though it may well seem like a challenging undertaking, it's essential that you choose the right course to receive the necessary training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be debating 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 deciding on a training course involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be covering those topics along with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll 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 Function of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Northport AL hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other rooms
CNAs can also practice in Northport AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they often remain in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. In many cases, they can become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for preparing 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 instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Northport AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that every state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Training
Attending CNA schools online is becoming a more popular way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Northport AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education and employment in the Northport AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies 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 contact some Northport 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Northport AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts 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 mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have associations with local Northport AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best CNA Program
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you need to take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out in this article, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Northport AL.