How to Enroll In the Right Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant College Near Opelika Alabama
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Opelika AL. Once you have earned your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in health care within the Country. Though it might seem like a challenging task, it's imperative that you select the best school to receive the proper training and education. Many future students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also 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 completing your due diligence before choosing a training course entails far more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be covering those topics as well as several other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
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The Job of a Nursing Assistant
A Certified Nursing Assistant is a vital part of any healthcare team. As a matter of fact, health care couldn’t happen without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the direct care of residents or patients of the medical agency or facility that he or she is employed by. CNAs also help with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have a role in keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a member of a team, the CNA reports to a nurse, typically an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their feedback about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also manage scheduling with other Opelika AL medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The work can be physically strenuous, including lifting, positioning, and transferring patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the perfect job for those who love to keep busy and help people while treating them with respect and dignity.
CNA CoursesUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be obtained 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 obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to 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 specific prerequisites. So it's important to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise 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 certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional requirements as well.
Online CNA Training
Enrolling in CNA schools online is becoming a more favored way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Opelika AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend classes for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Schools
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to decrease the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already discussed, the site of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final 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 in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you receive a premium education and employment in the Opelika AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also readies you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Visit online rating services to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, get in touch with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with 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 considering 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 unhappy 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 favorable reputation within the Opelika 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 setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Ask if the schools have associations with local Opelika AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.
Pick the Right Opelika Nurse Assistant Program
Picking the right certified nursing assistant degree program is probably the most crucial phase to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently depending on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Opelika Alabama.