How to Find the Right Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant Program Near Birmingham Alabama
Now 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 Birmingham AL. After you have earned your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing positions in medical care within the United States. Though it may seem like a difficult endeavor, it's important that you choose the best program to obtain the necessary training and education. Many future students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But completing your due diligence before choosing a training course requires far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those subjects as well as various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
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The Role of a Nursing Assistant
Certified nursing assistants (CNAs) work alongside licensed practical nurses (LPNs) and registered nurses (RNS) to provide care for patients in a variety of healthcare environments, such as hospitals, medical clinics or nursing homes. CNAs work closely with patients, but they perform different tasks than LPNs or RNs, typically helping with things like bathing and dressing patients. RNs and LPNs are more highly educated, while CNAs can become certified through relatively short training courses at Birmingham AL area nursing or vocational schools, including online programs, or at local community colleges.
CNA CoursesUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Birmingham AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction directed and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also 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 sure that the training is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Schools
Attending CNA classes online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Birmingham AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even additional 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). And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward 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.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
There are numerous CNA training schools within the greater Birmingham Alabama area, but selecting one that offers a good and effective program can be a bit of a challenge. Since you are going to invest your valuable time, money and energy into this training, it’s important that you choose the right school to help ensure that you will become a qualified Certified Nursing Assistant. So always investigate properly before enrolling in any institution. One way to get a better idea about a prospective school and its quality is to interact with recent graduates or current students. You may be able do it online if the school has any discussion forums. And before making your final selection, you should also take some of the following additional factors into consideration.
- Location of CNA School Campus. First thing to note while selecting any CNA training school is its location and the distance you need to travel to reach the school. If you prefer not to travel long distance, then you should select a school near your Birmingham AL residence.
- Accreditation. Select a CNA program which is accredited by one or more highly regarded organizations, such as the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) or the Commission on Collegiate Nursing and Education (CCNE). Accreditation ensures that the school adheres to all of the essential standards of education as set down by these specialized nursing institutions, thus guaranteeing you will be provided a quality education.
- Class Sizes. You also need to examine the class and school size as some students opt for smaller schools and classes to get individual attention, while others may opt for bigger schools with more students.
- Affiliations. The most important part of training as a Certified Nursing Assistant is the practical experience. So when selecting a CNA training school always make sure that it is affiliated with Birmingham Alabama area nursing homes, hospitals or other health care facilities where you can intern and gain practical knowledge.
- Facility. One of the key factors to consider when evaluating any CNA training school is the quality of the facilities available for practical training. Before enrolling, visit the school and training facilities on campus. If possible, sit in on some classes.
- Tuition Fees and Scholarships. Tuition fees for CNA programs differ from school to school and are based on many factors, such as your status as a resident in Alabama or if you are an out-of-state student, and whether the school is public or private. Many schools offer scholarships and financial aid, which can make education affordable or at least manageable for those with more limited finances. Scholarship policies differ from school to school, so it’s important to inquire about available CNA scholarships before enrollment.
Pick the Right Birmingham Nurse Assistant Program
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most critical step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous aspects that you should think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career objectives, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this article, it is critical that you choose 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 shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a CNA in Birmingham Alabama.