How to Pick the Right Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant College Near Prattville Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Prattville AL. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in health care within the USA. Though it may well seem like a challenging endeavor, it's important that you choose the ideal program to obtain the proper training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most essential 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 about that option later. But performing your due diligence before deciding on a school consists of much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be addressing those subjects as well as several 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 what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.
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The Duties of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many jobs in the Prattville AL hospitals, clinics and other medical facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job role is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs may also practice in Prattville AL nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that most individuals accomplish daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these types of patients since they typically reside in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they can become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA ProgramsUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Prattville AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from 1 to three 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training required and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the course 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 certain that the training is state certified. Along with the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Courses
Enrolling in CNA classes online is emerging as a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Prattville AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping ensure that you receive a quality education and employment in the Prattville AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often 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 specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers an excellent education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Prattville 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 schools 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 displeased 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 Prattville AL medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Prattville AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.
Pick the Right Prattville Nurse Assistant Program
Selecting the right certified nursing assistant college is arguably the most critical step to starting a new career in the healthcare field. There are numerous aspects that you should take into account when picking a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Prattville Alabama.