How to Pick the Right Accredited CNA School Near Montgomery Alabama
Once you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Montgomery AL. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will launch a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding positions in medical care within the United States. Although it may well seem like a difficult task, it's important that you select the ideal school to acquire the appropriate 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 also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More on that option later. But completing your due diligence before deciding on a program involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues as well as various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss 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 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 Montgomery AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Courses
Attending CNA classes online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and earn a certificate or diploma in Montgomery 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 carried out in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Training Programs
Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the location of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection measures up 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 agency. Besides helping make sure that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Montgomery AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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. Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. 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 contact some Montgomery AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Montgomery 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. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with local Montgomery AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.