How to Pick the Right Accredited CNA College 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. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Even though it might seem like a difficult undertaking, it's essential that you pick the right school to obtain the proper training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before deciding on a program involves 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 along with various 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 what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.
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The Duties of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Athens AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs can also practice in Athens AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Athens AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Classes
Enrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, some 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 numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Training Classes
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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. Besides helping ensure that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Athens AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary 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 important 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 practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Right Athens Nurse Assistant Program
Deciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant school is arguably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are many aspects that you should take into account when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this content, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Athens Alabama.