How to Find the Best CNA Classes near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the medical 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 achieved your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in health care within the USA. Though it may well seem like a challenging undertaking, it's essential that you select the ideal course to acquire the necessary training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a school entails far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be covering those topics as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Duties of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, practices and other medical 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 function under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs might also practice in Tuscaloosa AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for extended time periods. Frequently, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Tuscaloosa AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain 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 amount of instruction required and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA training online is becoming a more favored way to get instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Tuscaloosa AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Tuscaloosa AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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 important that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, 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 contact some Tuscaloosa AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable 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 effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Find out if the schools have associations with local Tuscaloosa AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Best Nurse Assistant School
Picking the right certified nursing assistant school is probably the most important step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are many factors that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this article, it is important that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose 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.