How to Pick the Best Accredited CNA Classes Near Birmingham Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Birmingham AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in health care within the United States. Though it may well seem like a challenging undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the best program to receive the proper 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 also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to deciding on a training course entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those subjects as well as several other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.
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The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs can also work in Birmingham AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in assisting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they often reside in the facilities for extended periods of time. Often, they can become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Birmingham AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have 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 minimal amount of training required and that every 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 likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as 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.
CNA Online Courses
Enrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Birmingham AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt 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 choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 verify that you receive a premium education and employment in the Birmingham AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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. Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 colleges 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Birmingham AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal 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 mandates for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right Birmingham Nurse Assistant Program
Enrolling in the right certified nursing assistant program is probably the most critical step to starting a new career in the medical care industry. There are various aspects that you should think about when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have stressed in this article, it is important that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Birmingham Alabama.