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How to Find the Right Certified Nursing Assistant School Near Phenix City Alabama

Phenix City Alabama CNA reviewing patient chart with RNNow that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Phenix City AL. Once you have attained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in health care within the United States. Even though it might seem like a challenging undertaking, it's essential that you select the right course to obtain the necessary training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be pondering 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 before choosing a school consists of much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be covering those issues as well as a few other questions that you should 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.

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CNA Certificates

Phenix City Alabama Nursing Assistant with senior female patient in nursing home

Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Phenix City 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. Within 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of training required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but additionally 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 may be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Programs

Phenix City Alabama young female student enrolled in CNA classes onlineEnrolling in CNA training online is emerging as a more preferred way to receive instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Phenix City AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient answer to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even other 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 job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs

Now that you have selected which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick measures up 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 agency. In addition to helping ensure that you get an excellent education and employment in the Phenix City AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Phenix City 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 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 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Phenix City AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

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