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

Prattville AL Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsOnce 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 attained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in healthcare within the United States. Although it may seem like a complicated endeavor, it's important that you choose the best program to receive the appropriate training and education. Many 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 considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More on that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to selecting a training course requires far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you register 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 Function of a Nursing Assistant

Prattville AL CNA greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Prattville AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting can include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Reading patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Bathing and dressing patients
  • Serving and aiding patients with meals
  • Conveying patients to other areas

CNAs may also practice in Prattville AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Training

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have 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 instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make sure that the course 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 training 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 requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Prattville AL student attending online CNA coursesEnrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and attain 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 specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick 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. Aside from helping confirm that you get a premium education and employment in the Prattville AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often 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.  Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 programs 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Prattville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have associations with local Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant Program

Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is arguably the most crucial first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are numerous variables that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Prattville AL.