How to Select the Right Accredited CNA School 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 classes near Birmingham AL. After you have attained your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in healthcare within the United States. Though it may seem like a daunting endeavor, it's imperative that you pick the right school to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More on that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before selecting a school entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those subjects along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, 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 Function of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many tasks in the Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics and other medical organizations where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job role is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Transporting patients to other rooms
CNAs might also practice in Birmingham AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they commonly stay in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they may become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired 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 training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important 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 sure that the training course 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 other requirements as well.
Online CNA Schools
Enrolling in CNA training online is becoming a more in demand way to get training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Birmingham AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component 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 balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even additional 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 such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Training Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Aside from helping ensure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Birmingham AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA schools you are considering 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 important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Birmingham AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Birmingham AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Choose the Best Birmingham Nurse Assistant School
Picking the ideal certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most crucial step to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various factors that you must think about when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have highlighted in this article, it is essential that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate 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.