How to Enroll In the Best CNA School near Opelika Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Opelika AL. After you have attained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding positions in medical care within the Country. Although it may seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the right program to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But doing your due diligence prior to selecting a program involves 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 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 Job of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Opelika AL hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining 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 work in Opelika AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, 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 help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Opelika AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed 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 also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA training online is growing into a more preferred way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Opelika AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Should You Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?
A CNA is an important part of any Opelika AL medical organization. As a matter of fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the direct care of residents or patients of the medical agency or facility that he or she is employed by. CNAs also assist with activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a team member, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically challenging, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend most of their time on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the right job for those who like to keep busy and help people while treating them with dignity and respect.
Things to Ask CNA Training Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a premium education and employment in the Opelika AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided 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. Certain 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 excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. 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 Opelika AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA colleges you are considering 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 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 Opelika AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Opelika AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant Training
Picking the right certified nursing assistant degree program is arguably the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the healthcare industry. There are numerous aspects that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic 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 exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Opelika AL.