How to Find the Best CNA School Near Birmingham Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Birmingham AL. Once you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in medical care within the Country. Though it might seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's imperative that you pick the right school to receive the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most basic 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 course and attend them at home. More concerning that alternative later. But performing your due diligence prior to choosing a program entails 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 along with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are available.
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The Duties of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Birmingham AL hospitals, practices and other healthcare organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice in Birmingham AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without assistance, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Frequently, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Birmingham AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course 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 may be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Programs
Enrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Birmingham 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 carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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). So 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 school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Programs
Once you have decided on 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 undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Birmingham AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, contact 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs you are considering 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 dissatisfied 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 favorable reputation within the Birmingham AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially 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 a working relationship with local Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right Birmingham Nurse Assistant School
Choosing the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is perhaps the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Birmingham Alabama.