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How to Pick the Best Accredited CNA College Near Florence Alabama

Florence Alabama Nursing Assistant reviewing patient file with NurseNow 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 training classes near Florence AL. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in medical care within the Country. Though it might seem like a challenging endeavor, it's imperative that you pick the right course to receive the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More concerning that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before picking a program consists of much more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those topics as well as a few other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

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CNA Programs

Florence Alabama Nursing Assistant with senior woman in assisted living facility

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Florence AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Schools

Florence Alabama young woman student enrolled in CNA classes onlineEnrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Florence AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

What to Ask CNA Schools

Once you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before 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 as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Florence AL area, it may help in obtaining 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.  Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Florence 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 complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a favorable reputation within the Florence AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Florence AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.

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