How to Enroll In the Right CNA College Near Huntsville Alabama
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Huntsville AL. After you have achieved your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in health care within the USA. Although it may well seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's important that you choose the right course to receive 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 might additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to choosing a program involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues along with a few other questions that you should 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 type of training and credentials that are offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
The Function of a Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Huntsville AL hospitals, practices and other medical facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting can include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Reading patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs can also work in Huntsville AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals perform daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically remain in the facilities for prolonged time periods. In many cases, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Huntsville AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. 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 check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.
CNA Online Training
Attending CNA training online is emerging as a more in demand way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Huntsville AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick 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 organization. Aside from 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 oftentimes not offered 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 important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Additionally, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact 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 looking at 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 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Huntsville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Find out if the schools have associations with local Huntsville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Huntsville Nurse Assistant School
Picking the best certified nursing assistant training program is potentially the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this post, it is important that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce 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 dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Huntsville Alabama.