How to Choose the Best Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant College 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 searching for CNA classes near Decatur AL. Once you have attained your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing positions in healthcare within the United States. Although it might seem like a complicated task, it's important that you pick the right course to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of potential students begin with the two most fundamental 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 course 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 qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those topics as well as various 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 what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
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The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many jobs in the Decatur AL hospitals, clinics and other health care organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job function is to assist the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Providing basic services 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
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs can also work in Decatur AL nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people perform daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually reside in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Often, they can become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have 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 one to three 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 instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the course 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 training course is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Programs
Enrolling in CNA classes online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Decatur AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to begin 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 essential to decrease the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site 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 only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping confirm that you receive a premium education and employment in the Decatur AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Decatur AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA colleges 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Decatur AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with local Decatur AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Decatur Nurse Assistant Program
Selecting the best certified nursing assistant program is arguably the most important first step to beginning a new career in the medical care industry. There are various aspects that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list 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 CNA in Decatur Alabama.