How to Pick the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program Near Opelika Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Opelika AL. After you have earned your certification, you will launch a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing occupations in medical care within the Country. Even though it may well seem like a daunting undertaking, it's important that you choose the ideal course to receive the necessary training and education. A number of future students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be debating 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 doing your due diligence prior to selecting a school requires far more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those topics as well as a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about the type of training and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Opelika AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and that each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only fulfills 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 sure that the training course is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Classes
Attending CNA classes online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Opelika AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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). Therefore if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward 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 Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Opelika AL area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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. Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Opelika 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 finish their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased 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 favorable reputation within the Opelika AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually 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 Opelika AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.