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How to Find the Right Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant College Near Birmingham Alabama

Birmingham Alabama CNA reviewing patient file with RNNow 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 searching for CNA training programs near Birmingham AL. Once you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in healthcare within the Country. Even though it might seem like a daunting endeavor, it's important that you select the ideal program to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More concerning that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before picking a training course involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those topics together with a few 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 the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.

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CNA Training

Birmingham Alabama CNA with senior woman in assisted living facility

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Birmingham AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and every state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state approved. As well as 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 Training

Birmingham Alabama young female student taking CNA classes onlineEnrolling in CNA training online is emerging as 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 nearly all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Courses

Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Birmingham AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements 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 performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Birmingham 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 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Birmingham AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire 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 as well. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

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