How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program Near Huntsville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Huntsville AL. Once you have earned your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly increasing positions in health care within the United States. Though it might seem like a difficult undertaking, it's essential that you choose the best school to receive the necessary training and education. Many future students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More concerning that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to picking a training course requires 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 addressing those issues along with several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
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 instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Huntsville AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction directed and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Classes
Enrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more in demand way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Huntsville AL. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the field.
- 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 recognized accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you get an excellent education and employment in the Huntsville AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, 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 Huntsville 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 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 verify that the school has a superb reputation within the Huntsville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Huntsville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.