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How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Course near Prattville Alabama

Prattville AL Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Prattville AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing positions in health care within the Country. Even though it may seem like a daunting endeavor, it's important that you pick the best program to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More on that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to selecting a program involves much more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those topics together with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

The Function of a Nursing Assistant

Prattville AL CNA greeting patient

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Prattville AL hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they work. 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 oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:

  • Furnishing 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 areas

CNAs might also work in Prattville AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extended time periods. In many cases, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Diplomas

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Prattville 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. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. In addition to 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 Training

Prattville AL woman attending online CNA classesEnrolling in CNA classes online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Prattville AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

What to Ask CNA Schools

Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, 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 recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Prattville AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Prattville 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 programs 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Prattville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with nearby Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Pick the Best CNA School

Prattville AL Nursing Assistant with nursing home patientPicking the ideal certified nursing assistant school is probably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this post, it is essential that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Prattville AL.