How to Select the Best Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant College Near Bessemer Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Bessemer AL. After you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the United States. Though it may seem like a challenging endeavor, it's imperative that you choose the right course to obtain the necessary training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But doing your due diligence before choosing a program consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those issues along with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Bessemer AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction mandated and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial 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 suggestion is to get in touch with 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 may be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Bessemer AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Programs
Now that you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably 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 select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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. Aside from helping ensure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Bessemer AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Bessemer AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Bessemer AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Bessemer AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.