How to Pick the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College Near Prichard Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Prichard AL. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing positions in medical care within the Country. Though it may seem like a difficult undertaking, it's imperative that you select the right school to acquire the proper training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be contemplating 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 completing your due diligence before choosing a program involves far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those topics as well as a few other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of training and credentials that are offered.
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The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
A CNA is an important part of any healthcare team. As a matter of fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the direct care of residents or patients of the healthcare facility or agency that he or she works for. CNAs also help with activities of daily living such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients safe and comfortable. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often an RN. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their feedback about each patient’s condition. CNAs also manage scheduling with other Prichard AL medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically challenging, including lifting, positioning, and transferring patients during their work shift. CNAs spend the majority of their day or evening on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the right profession for those who like to keep busy and help people while treating them with dignity and respect.
CNA DiplomasIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Prichard AL vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain 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 recommendation is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Courses
Attending CNA training online is becoming a more in demand way to get instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Prichard AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more practical solution to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following checklist to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly realize, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is important to lower the number of schools to select from so that you will have a manageable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will consider. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final choice, 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 along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. Besides helping confirm that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Prichard AL area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs differ 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 essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. 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 contact some Prichard 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 schools 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Prichard AL medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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 prerequisites for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Prichard AL hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Right Prichard Nurse Assistant Program
Deciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant program is arguably the most important phase to starting a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick 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 CNA in Prichard Alabama.