How to Enroll In the Right CNA Training Program Near Athens Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA classes near Athens AL. After you have earned your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in healthcare within the United States. Though it may well seem like a difficult task, it's important that you select the right program to receive the appropriate training and education. Many potential students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that option later. But doing your due diligence before selecting a training course entails much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be addressing those subjects as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Athens 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. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the training 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 get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Classes
Attending CNA programs online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours completed 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 free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Courses
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection 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 recognized accrediting agency. Aside from helping confirm that you get a quality education and employment in the Athens 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 differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with 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 looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Athens AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 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 Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.