How to Enroll In the Right Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant Classes Near Decatur 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 Decatur AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in medical care within the United States. Even though it might seem like a complicated undertaking, it's essential that you pick the right school 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 might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More regarding that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a school entails far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues along with several other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Decatur AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction 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 obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Programs
Attending CNA classes online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Decatur AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines 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 earlier pointed out, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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 agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Decatur AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites 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 completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Decatur 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 schools 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Decatur AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- 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 specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Decatur AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.