How to Find the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School near Northport Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Northport AL. Once you have attained your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in health care within the USA. Even though it might seem like a complicated task, it's important that you pick the best course to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a school consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those subjects as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Northport AL hospitals, practices and other medical 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 guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Providing 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
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs can also work in Northport AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they often reside in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. In many cases, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Northport 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 have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course 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 other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Classes
Enrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more favored way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Northport AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer 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 alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Courses
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify 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 provided 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative 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 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. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Northport AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best CNA School
Selecting the right certified nursing assistant degree program is arguably the most important step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various variables that you need to take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have highlighted within this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Northport AL.