How to Choose the Right Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant Course Near Prichard Alabama
Now that 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 Prichard AL. After you have earned your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in medical care within the Country. Although it might seem like a daunting undertaking, it's essential that you choose the best program to obtain the necessary training and education. Many future students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More on that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to selecting a training course consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be covering those subjects together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's talk a little bit about the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
In contrast to 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 Prichard AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction required and that every state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only satisfies 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. Along with 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 Classes
Attending CNA training online is growing into a more popular way to obtain training and earn a certificate or diploma in Prichard AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even supplemental 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 obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
What to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping make sure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Prichard AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes 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. 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 excellent education, but also preps you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, check with the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Prichard 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 colleges you are looking at 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 superb reputation within the Prichard AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students obtain a position.
- 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Prichard AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.