How to Pick the Best CNA Program near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training programs near Tuscaloosa AL. After you have earned your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in health care within the USA. Although it might seem like a challenging endeavor, it's essential that you choose the right school to acquire the proper training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More about that option later. But doing your due diligence before deciding on a training course requires far more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be covering those topics together with several other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Function of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many jobs in the Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, practices and other health organizations where they work. Per 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 oversight 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 duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs can also work in Tuscaloosa AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for prolonged time frames. Often, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Tuscaloosa AL vocational or trade schools. The length 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 mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise 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 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 might be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Tuscaloosa AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of 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 affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you get a quality education and employment in the Tuscaloosa AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch 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 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 schools 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Tuscaloosa AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best Nurse Assistant School
Deciding on the best certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most critical phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are various variables that you should consider when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list 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 desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Tuscaloosa AL.