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How to Pick the Best Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant College Near Dothan Alabama

Dothan Alabama CNA reviewing patient file with RNNow that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA classes near Dothan AL. After you have attained your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in healthcare within the USA. Although it may well seem like a challenging endeavor, it's essential that you choose the right course to acquire the proper training and education. Many potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be pondering 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 performing your due diligence prior to selecting a program entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those subjects as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about the type of training and credentials that are offered.

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CNA Programs

Dothan Alabama Nursing Assistant with senior female patient in nursing home

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Dothan AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and every state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip 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 mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Classes

Dothan Alabama young female student enrolled in CNA training onlineEnrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more favored way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Dothan AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask CNA Colleges

Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 organization. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Dothan AL area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, 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 Dothan 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 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Dothan AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Dothan AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

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