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How to Pick the Best Accredited CNA School Near Athens Alabama

Athens Alabama Nursing Assistant reviewing patient chart with RNNow that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Athens AL. Once you have achieved your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding positions in healthcare within the USA. Although it might seem like a complicated task, it's essential that you pick the right program to obtain the proper training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most fundamental 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 regarding that alternative later. But performing 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 also be considered. We will be addressing those issues as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

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CNA Courses

Athens Alabama Nursing Assistant with senior woman in nursing home

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Athens AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation 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 additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Courses

Athens Alabama young woman student enrolled in CNA training onlineEnrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Athens AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.

  • 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 organization. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Athens AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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.  Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 schools you are considering 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Athens AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Athens AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

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