How to Select the Right CNA College near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Now 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 searching for CNA training classes near Tuscaloosa AL. Once you have attained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the United States. Although it may seem like a daunting undertaking, it's essential that you pick the right program to acquire the proper training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a training course entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects along with several 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 Job of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many functions in the Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, clinics and other health organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because 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 help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice in Tuscaloosa AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they often reside in the facilities for extended periods of time. Frequently, they can become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Tuscaloosa AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training 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 may be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Training
Enrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Tuscaloosa AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Courses
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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. Aside from helping verify that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Tuscaloosa AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also important 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 assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best Nurse Assistant Program
Enrolling in the best certified nursing assistant college is arguably the most important phase to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you need to consider when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, obligations, and financial situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Tuscaloosa AL.