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How to Choose the Best CNA Program Near Prattville Alabama

Prattville Alabama Nursing Assistant reviewing patient chart with RNOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Prattville AL. After you have attained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding positions in health care within the United States. Even though it may seem like a challenging endeavor, it's essential that you pick the best course to obtain the proper 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 also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a training course entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those issues along with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.

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Prattville Alabama CNA with senior female patient in nursing home

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Prattville AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to 3 months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain 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 minimal amount of training mandated and every state has its own requirements. So it's important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state certified. As well as 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

Prattville Alabama young female student taking CNA classes onlineEnrolling in CNA schools online is growing into a more preferred way to get training and attain a certificate or diploma in Prattville AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, 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 work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Training Programs

Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are numerous 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 already pointed out, the site of the school along with the expense of tuition are probably going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Prattville AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs are different 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 provides an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Visit internet rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. Also, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Prattville AL healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Prattville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
  • 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

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