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How to Pick the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Classes near Opelika Alabama

Opelika AL Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsOnce 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 training classes near Opelika AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in medical care within the Country. Though it might seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the ideal course to acquire the appropriate training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that option later. But completing your due diligence before picking a school involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues together with various other questions that you should 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 training and credentials that are offered.

The Job of a CNA

Opelika AL Certified Nursing Assistant helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Opelika AL hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Checking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other rooms

CNAs can also work in Opelika AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they often stay in the facilities for extended time periods. In many cases, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Opelika AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one 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 must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and every state has its own requirements. So it's important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally 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 education 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 Schools

Opelika AL woman taking online CNA classesEnrolling in CNA classes online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Opelika AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many 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 very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

What to Ask CNA Training Classes

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, 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 prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Opelika AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites 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 completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Opelika 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 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 unhappy 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 Opelika AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Opelika AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Choose the Right Nurse Assistant Program

Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant college is probably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are various factors that you should consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Opelika AL.