How to Enroll In the Best Accredited CNA Classes Near Birmingham Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA classes near Birmingham AL. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing positions in healthcare within the USA. Though it may well seem like a daunting endeavor, it's essential that you select the ideal course to obtain the proper training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More about that option later. But doing your due diligence before deciding on a school entails far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those issues as well as several other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Birmingham AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive 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 instruction required and every state has its own requirements. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Classes
Enrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Birmingham AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within 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 workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you get a premium education and employment in the Birmingham AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some 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 meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. 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 contact 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential 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 healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with local Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.