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How to Find the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Course near Tuscaloosa Alabama

Tuscaloosa AL Certified Nursing Assistant taking patient's blood pressureOnce you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Tuscaloosa AL. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in health care within the Country. Even though it might seem like an overwhelming task, it's essential that you pick the best program to receive the proper training and education. A number of future students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that alternative later. But performing your due diligence prior to choosing a school involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those topics together with several other questions that you need to 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 type of training and credentials that are available.

The Role of a Nursing Assistant

Tuscaloosa AL CNA helping patient

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many functions in the Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, practices and other health facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Administering basic services to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Transferring patients to other areas

CNAs can also practice in Tuscaloosa AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, 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 accomplish daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they can become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valuable resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Diplomas

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Tuscaloosa AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from just 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 instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required 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 tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education 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 other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Programs

Tuscaloosa AL student attending CNA online coursesAttending CNA programs online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain training and attain a certificate or diploma in Tuscaloosa AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with little 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.

Why Become a Certified Nursing Assistant?

A Certified Nursing Assistant is an important component of any Tuscaloosa AL healthcare team. As a matter of fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of patients or residents of the medical facility or agency that he or she works for. CNAs also help with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a member of a team, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including positioning, lifting, and moving patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the perfect profession for those who love to keep busy and help people while treating them with respect and dignity.

Questions to Ask CNA Colleges

What to Ask Tuscaloosa AL CNA schoolsOnce you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers 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 essential to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see 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. In addition to helping verify that you receive a quality education and employment in the Tuscaloosa AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Tuscaloosa AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Pick the Right CNA Training

Tuscaloosa AL Nursing Assistant with nursing home patientDeciding on the best certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most critical step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous factors that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this content, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop 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 hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Tuscaloosa AL.