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How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Prattville Alabama

Prattville AL Nursing Assistant taking man's blood pressureNow 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 classes near Prattville AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in healthcare within the USA. Even though it may well seem like an overwhelming task, it's important that you pick the best program to acquire the proper training and education. A number of future students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to deciding on a school entails far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those issues as well as various other questions that you should be asking before you enroll 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 offered.

The Job of a CNA

Prattville AL Nursing Assistant assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Prattville AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Administering basic care to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transporting patients to other areas

CNAs can also practice in Prattville AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people 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 commonly remain in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Often, they can end up being the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Prattville AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction 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 need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Training

Prattville AL woman attending CNA online classesEnrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Prattville AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, 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 job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

What to Ask CNA Training Programs

Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you get an excellent education and employment in the Prattville AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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.  Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 schools you are looking at 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb 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 effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Enroll in the Right Nurse Assistant School

Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most critical phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are many aspects that you should think about when deciding on a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Prattville AL.