How to Find the Right Nursing Assistant Program near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA classes near Tuscaloosa AL. Once you have attained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in health care within the USA. Although it may seem like an overwhelming task, it's imperative that you pick the ideal program to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More regarding that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to selecting a training course involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics together with several 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 type of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many duties in the Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs can also practice in Tuscaloosa AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people perform daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly remain in the facilities for extensive periods of time. In many cases, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Tuscaloosa AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Schools
Attending CNA classes online is becoming a more preferred way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Tuscaloosa AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family commitments 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 active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 organization. Besides helping ensure that you get a premium education and employment in the Tuscaloosa AL area, it may help 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. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Tuscaloosa AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Tuscaloosa AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with local Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Best Nurse Assistant Training
Deciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most critical first step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of aspects that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Tuscaloosa AL.