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How to Pick the Right CNA Program Near Prattville Alabama

Prattville Alabama Nursing Assistant reviewing patient file with NurseOnce you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training programs near Prattville AL. After you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in health care within the Country. Even though it may well seem like a complicated endeavor, it's important that you choose the right program to receive the necessary training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More concerning that alternative later. But doing your due diligence prior to selecting a program consists of much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be covering those issues together with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about the type of training and credentials that are available.

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CNA Certificates

Prattville Alabama Nursing Assistant with senior female patient in assisted living facility

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Prattville AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from one to three 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. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of instruction required and each state has its specific requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally 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 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 might be other prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Programs

Prattville Alabama young woman student enrolled in CNA training onlineAttending CNA programs online is growing into a more popular way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Prattville AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

What to Ask CNA Courses

Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school as well as the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your pick 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. In addition to helping ensure that you get a quality education and employment in the Prattville AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not available 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 certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations 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 Prattville 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 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Prattville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

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