How to Find the Best Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant Program Near Decatur Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Decatur AL. Once you have obtained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in healthcare within the USA. Although it may seem like a difficult endeavor, it's imperative that you pick the best program to acquire the proper training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More about that alternative later. But doing your due diligence prior to selecting a training course consists of much more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those issues along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Decatur AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also 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 certain that the education 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 might be additional prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Decatur AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors 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 pick measures up to the field.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Decatur AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria 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 an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 looking at 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Decatur AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Decatur AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.