How to Select the Right CNA Program Near Athens Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Athens AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing positions in healthcare within the USA. Though it may seem like a daunting task, it's essential that you select the right school to obtain the proper training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence before picking a school involves much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those subjects together with several other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
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The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant
A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital part of any healthcare team. In fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the front line care of residents or patients of the healthcare agency or facility that he or she is employed by. CNAs also help with daily activities such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have the responsibility of 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 each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other Athens AL healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including lifting, positioning, and moving patients during their shift. CNAs spend the majority of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect profession for people who love to keep busy and help patients as well as treat them with dignity and respect.
CNA DiplomasIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Athens AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Training
Attending CNA classes online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend classes 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 can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Courses
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- 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 agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Athens AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA colleges 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships 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. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Best Athens Nurse Assistant School
Deciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is perhaps the most critical phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of factors that you must take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Athens Alabama.