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How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program Near Hoover Alabama

Hoover Alabama CNA reviewing patient chart with RNOnce you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Hoover AL. After you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in healthcare within the USA. Even though it may well seem like a difficult endeavor, it's important that you select the best program to acquire the proper training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a program involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those issues along with several other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about the type of training and credentials that are offered.

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CNA Programs

Hoover Alabama Nursing Assistant with senior female patient in nursing home

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Hoover 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 required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training directed and every state has its own requirements. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.

CNA Online Programs

Hoover Alabama young woman student enrolled in CNA courses onlineEnrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more favored way to obtain instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Hoover AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Training Programs

Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up to the other programs.

  • 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. Aside from helping verify that you get an excellent education and employment in the Hoover AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements 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 completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. Additionally, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Hoover 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 unhappy 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 Hoover AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Check if the schools have associations with local Hoover AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

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