How to Enroll In the Right Nursing Assistant Course near Northport Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Northport AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the USA. Although it might seem like an overwhelming task, it's imperative that you choose the ideal course to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to deciding on a program entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those subjects as well as a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, 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 perform many duties in the Northport AL hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Furnishing basic care 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
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in Northport AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extended periods of time. In many cases, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Northport AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under 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 minimum amount of instruction directed and that each state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Training
Attending CNA schools online is growing into a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Northport AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Northport AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with 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 all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm 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 gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Northport AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Program
Picking the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is probably the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are many aspects that you need to think about when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Northport AL.