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How to Select the Right Nursing Assistant Training Program near Opelika Alabama

Opelika AL CNA taking man's blood pressureOnce you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Opelika AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in healthcare within the USA. Although it might seem like a complicated undertaking, it's important that you choose the right program to receive the proper training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But performing your due diligence before choosing a program consists of much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues together with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Role of a CNA

Opelika AL Nursing Assistant helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many functions in the Opelika AL hospitals, practices and other health care facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment can include:

  • Furnishing basic services to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and helping patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other areas

CNAs can also work in Opelika AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people carry out daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically remain in the facilities for extensive time frames. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Courses

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Opelika AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training required and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. 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 prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Training

Opelika AL student taking CNA online trainingAttending CNA programs online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Opelika AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Colleges

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 use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.

  • 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. In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Opelika AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Opelika 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 colleges 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Opelika AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire 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 too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Opelika AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

Choose the Right Nurse Assistant Program

Opelika AL CNA with nursing home residentChoosing the right certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care field. There are numerous variables that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this post, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Opelika AL.