How to Enroll In the Right CNA Program Near Huntsville Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Huntsville AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in health care within the USA. Although it may seem like a challenging task, it's essential that you select the best school to receive the necessary 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 debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More concerning that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to deciding on a school consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those issues together with 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 what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
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The Job of a CNA
CNAs are on the front lines of providing basic care to patients in a variety of health care facilities, with responsibilities ranging from assisting with personal daily needs such as bathing and exercising to monitoring vital signs and dietary restrictions. All job requirements tend to be non-invasive procedures and revolve around daily routines that patients may not be able to complete on their own. Working under the supervision of licensed nurses, CNAs provide personal, professional assistance, ensuring patients are treated with dignity and respect and while receiving necessary medical care. In addition to being able to provide day-to-day care to their patients, CNAs must be compassionate communicators who can support their patients through difficult and sometimes painful procedures. Because they provide many basic care services such as bathing patients and helping them transfer to wheelchairs, they must also have a certain level of physical fitness. CNAs are expected to be team players, serving as liaisons between other medical professionals and their patients. This often involves recording and conveying important information concerning the condition of those in their charge. CNAs are found in nearly every health care field, serving in Huntsville AL locations such as long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, hospitals and hospices.
CNA CoursesUnlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained at community colleges or at Huntsville AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within 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 period of instruction directed and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with 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 can be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Training
Attending CNA classes online is emerging as a more favored way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Huntsville AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive 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 a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
What to Ask CNA Courses
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- State Approval. Each state has its own requirements for training and certification to become a practicing CNA. When researching schools, make sure the program you select is on the state-approved program list to ensure you will meet Alabama's requirements for certification following graduation. While programs across the country all teach the same basic care principles, states may differ on the number of classroom hours and/or clinical practice time is required.
- Accreditation. The first thing you will want to look for when choosing a CNA school is accreditation. Accreditation is proof that the school in question has met certain standards required to train and educate students. As such, always make sure that the school you are researching is accredited by a national accrediting agency.
- Program Cost. The cost of a CNA program can vary from school to school, but in general, CNA training programs are less expensive than an LPN training program, as the curriculum is less in-depth. Vocational schools, community colleges and some medical facilities in the Huntsville AL offer CNA training programs and may charge tuition by the credit hour or as a flat program fee. When calculating the total cost of a program, be sure to include the cost of books, course materials and uniform, background check fees, medical examination/TB test fees and the cost of the certification exam in addition to the tuition.
- Time Commitment. A CNA training program can take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks to complete, and will include clinical training hours in addition to classroom hours. One of the reasons becoming a CNA is a great entry into the Alabama nursing profession is this fast completion time, meaning CNAs can enter the work force much more quickly than an aspiring LPN or RN. Many CNAs use a position as a CNA to determine if nursing is the right career for them, and may decide to become an LPN or RN at a later date.
- Online vs. On Campus. Another program element to consider is whether or not your school of choice offers online courses. Online courses may be more convenient for students who have other work or family obligations that limit their availability to be on campus. Online programs provide students with the flexibility to complete assignments at their Huntsville AL home on their own schedules. Recognizing the need for flexibility among their students, many traditional classroom CNA programs also offer classes during nights and weekends.
More on How Long Does it Take to Become a CNA in Huntsville
Pick the Right Huntsville Nurse Assistant School
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant training program is perhaps the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous aspects that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Huntsville Alabama.