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How to Choose the Right CNA Training Program Near Northport Alabama

Northport Alabama Nursing Assistant reviewing patient file with NurseOnce you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Northport AL. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly increasing positions in medical care within the Country. Though it might seem like an overwhelming endeavor, it's imperative that you choose the best course 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 pondering 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 prior to deciding on a program entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics as well as various other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.

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CNA Programs

Northport Alabama Nursing Assistant with senior female patient in nursing home

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Northport 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 obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction directed and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. In addition to 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.

CNA Online Classes

Northport Alabama young woman student taking CNA courses onlineAttending CNA programs online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Northport AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Training Programs

Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other schools.

  • 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 organization. Besides helping make sure that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Northport AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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 completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Northport 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 colleges 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 dissatisfied 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 Northport AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with local Northport AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

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