How to Enroll In the Right CNA School near Vestavia Hills Alabama
Once you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Vestavia Hills AL. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the United States. Even though it may well seem like an overwhelming undertaking, it's important that you choose the best program to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many future students start with the two most essential 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 program and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before choosing a training course consists of much more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those topics together with various other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Function of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, practices and other health care organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital environment might include:
- Furnishing basic services to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Moving patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice in Vestavia Hills AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for extended periods of time. Frequently, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Vestavia Hills AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction 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 obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and every state has its specific requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise 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 education 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 other prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Classes
Enrolling in CNA classes online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Vestavia Hills AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 confirm that you get an excellent education and employment in the Vestavia Hills AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Vestavia Hills AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Vestavia Hills AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Right Nurse Assistant School
Picking the best certified nursing assistant school is arguably the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist 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 ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Vestavia Hills AL.