How to Choose the Right CNA Classes Near Athens Alabama
Once you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Athens AL. Once you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the USA. Though it might seem like a daunting task, it's imperative that you select the ideal course to obtain the necessary training and education. Many potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More concerning that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to deciding on a training course entails much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those issues as well as several 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 type of training and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
The Function of a CNA
A Certified Nursing Assistant is an important member of any medical team. In fact, medical care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the direct care of patients or residents of the healthcare facility or agency that she or he works for. CNAs also assist with ADLs such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their observations about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other Athens AL healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically demanding, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the right job for those who like to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with dignity and respect.
CNA CertificatesIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Athens AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three 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 need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills 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. 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.
Online CNA Schools
Enrolling in CNA classes online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family obligations have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Courses
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. 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 decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping verify that you receive a quality education and employment in the Athens AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 schools you are looking at 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Athens AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right Athens Nurse Assistant School
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant college is perhaps the most critical step to launching a new career in the medical care industry. There are various factors that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you pick a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Athens Alabama.