How to Enroll In the Best Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program Near Montgomery Alabama
Now that 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 programs near Montgomery AL. Once you have achieved your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the Country. Although it may seem like an overwhelming task, it's imperative that you pick the best school to obtain the proper training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But doing your due diligence before deciding on a training course entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects together with various other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about the kind of training and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Montgomery AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program 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 required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction directed and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Classes
Attending CNA schools online is growing into a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Montgomery AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of 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 many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward 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 selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose 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 undoubtedly going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up to the other schools.
- 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. Besides helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Montgomery AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine 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 assessments are of the schools as well.
- Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA schools 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 displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Montgomery AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified 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 placement of students in internships.