How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College Near Northport Alabama
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Northport AL. After you have earned your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Though it may seem like a complicated task, it's important that you pick the right school to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of future students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More on that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to selecting a school consists of far more than comparing the cost or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects as well as a few other questions that you need to 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.
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 earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Northport AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and every state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch 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 mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more favored way to get instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Northport AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part 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 alternative may be a more practical approach to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping verify that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Northport AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Additionally, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Northport 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 finish 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Northport AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Northport AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.