How to Select the Right Accredited CNA Course Near Montgomery Alabama
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Montgomery AL. Once you have earned your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly growing positions in health care within the USA. Even though it may seem like a difficult task, it's imperative that you select the right program to acquire the necessary training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be contemplating 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 performing your due diligence prior to choosing a program entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. 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 talk a little bit about the type of instruction and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Montgomery AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to 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 must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific requirements. So it's essential to make sure that the course 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 certain that the training is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more popular way to get instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Montgomery AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical approach to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And numerous 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 little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many 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 previously mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, 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 organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Montgomery AL area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps 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 reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Montgomery 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 programs you are looking at 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 confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Montgomery AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Montgomery AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.