How to Enroll In the Best Accredited CNA Program Near Helena Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Helena AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the USA. Though it may seem like a difficult task, it's essential that you select the right school to acquire the proper training and education. A number of future students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to picking a school requires much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those topics together with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Helena AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that each state has its own requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Courses
Enrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Helena AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Training Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Helena AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Helena 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 complete 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 favorable reputation within the Helena AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Helena AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.