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How to Pick the Best Nursing Assistant Training Program near Tuscaloosa Alabama

Tuscaloosa AL CNA taking patient's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Tuscaloosa AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Even though it may well seem like an overwhelming task, it's essential that you pick the right course to receive the necessary training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally 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 completing your due diligence before deciding on a training course consists of far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics together with a few 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 Function of a Nursing Assistant

Tuscaloosa AL Certified Nursing Assistant assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many duties in the Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, practices and other medical facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And 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 can include:

  • Providing basic services to patients
  • Taking 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 rooms

CNAs can also work in Tuscaloosa AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually remain in the facilities for extended time frames. Often, they may end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valuable resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Diplomas

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained 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, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have 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 minimal amount of training required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact 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 prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Programs

Tuscaloosa AL woman taking CNA online coursesAttending CNA programs online is growing into a more favored way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Tuscaloosa AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask CNA Courses

Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the field.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education and employment in the Tuscaloosa AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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.  Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies 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 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 colleges you are looking at 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 unhappy 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 Tuscaloosa AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Best Nurse Assistant Program

Selecting the best certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have pointed out within this content, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist 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 desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Tuscaloosa AL.