How to Choose the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Program near Phenix City Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Phenix City AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in health care within the USA. Though it may well seem like a complicated undertaking, it's important that you select the best course to receive the appropriate training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More about that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to deciding on a training course requires 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 covering those subjects 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 type of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Administering basic services 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 may also work in Phenix City AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting 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 develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically reside in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Phenix City AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and every state has its specific requirements. So it's important 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 tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA classes online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Phenix City AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Training Programs
Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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. Aside from helping make sure that you get a quality education and employment in the Phenix City AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs differ 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 imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Phenix City 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 schools 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Phenix City AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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 mandates for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best CNA School
Picking the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most important first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have pointed out within this article, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Phenix City AL.