How to Enroll In the Best Certified Nursing Assistant College near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Vestavia Hills AL. Once you have attained your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in medical care within the USA. Though it might seem like a difficult endeavor, it's imperative that you choose the right school to obtain the proper training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But doing your due diligence before deciding on a school entails far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those subjects together with various 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 kind of training and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many functions in the Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, practices and other health facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs can also practice in Vestavia Hills AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extensive periods of time. Often, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Vestavia Hills AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 minimum period of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. As well as 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.
CNA Online Programs
Enrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more in demand way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Vestavia Hills AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, 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 job and household commitments have left you with 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 hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous 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 workable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 make sure that you receive a quality education and employment in the Vestavia Hills AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with 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 each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Vestavia Hills 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Vestavia Hills AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right CNA School
Selecting the right certified nursing assistant degree program is arguably the most critical step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are a number of factors that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is critical that you select a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Vestavia Hills AL.