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How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College Near Phenix City Alabama

Phenix City Alabama CNA reviewing patient file with NurseOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Phenix City AL. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the most rapidly expanding positions in healthcare within the USA. Though it might seem like an overwhelming task, it's important that you choose the ideal program to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More concerning that option later. But performing your due diligence before picking a training course involves much more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be covering those topics along with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.

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CNA Programs

Phenix City Alabama Nursing Assistant with senior woman in nursing home

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Phenix City AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's crucial to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training 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 may be additional prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Schools

Phenix City Alabama young female student taking CNA courses onlineAttending CNA programs online is becoming a more favored way to obtain training and attain a certificate or diploma in Phenix City AL. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional 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). And so if your job and household commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

What to Ask CNA Programs

Once you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use 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 necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the location of the school as well as the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the initial two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get an excellent education and employment in the Phenix City AL area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria 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 performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. 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 contact some Phenix City 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 programs you are considering 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 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 substantiate that the school has a good reputation within the Phenix City AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification as well. Check if the schools have associations with nearby Phenix City AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.

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