How to Find the Best CNA Program Near Huntsville 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 Huntsville AL. After you have earned your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in health care within the Country. Even though it might seem like a difficult undertaking, it's important that you select the right course to obtain the necessary training and education. Many potential students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More concerning that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to selecting a school consists of much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those issues along with several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.
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The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many tasks in the Huntsville AL hospitals, practices and other medical organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Administering basic care to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs may also practice in Huntsville AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most people carry out daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they typically stay in the facilities for prolonged time frames. In many cases, they may end up being the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a beneficial resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Huntsville AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 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 instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and that each state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make certain that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also 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 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 requirements as well.
Online CNA Classes
Attending CNA schools online is becoming a more popular way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Huntsville AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household commitments have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
What to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are many 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 workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to evaluate 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping verify that you get a quality education and employment in the Huntsville AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Huntsville 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Huntsville AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Huntsville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
More on How to Become a CNA in Huntsville
Pick the Right Huntsville Nurse Assistant School
Choosing the ideal certified nursing assistant college is potentially the most important first step to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have emphasized within this content, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Huntsville Alabama.