How to Select the Right Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant College Near Decatur Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA classes near Decatur AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing positions in healthcare within the Country. Although it may seem like a daunting task, it's essential that you select the best school to acquire the necessary training and education. Many potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that option later. But performing your due diligence before picking a training course consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects together 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 offered.
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The Function of a Nursing Assistant
A CNA is an important part of the healthcare organization. In fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is responsible for the front line care of residents or patients of the medical agency or facility that she or he works for. CNAs also help with activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have a role in keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their feedback about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other Decatur AL medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically demanding, including positioning, lifting, and transferring patients during their shift. CNAs spend the majority of their day or evening on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the perfect profession for those who like to keep busy and help patients while treating them with respect and dignity.
CNA CertificatesIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Decatur AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training 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 can be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Decatur AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other schools.
- 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. Besides helping confirm that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Decatur AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 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 complete 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Decatur AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Decatur AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Best Decatur Nurse Assistant Program
Deciding on the right certified nursing assistant school is perhaps the most critical step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are many variables that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent 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 pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Decatur Alabama.