How to Select the Right Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program Near Selma Alabama
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Selma AL. As soon as you have attained your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing positions in health care within the United States. Though it may seem like a difficult endeavor, it's imperative that you pick the best school to acquire the proper training and education. A number of prospective 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 on that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to selecting a program involves far more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into account. We will be covering those subjects together with several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about the type of training and credentials that are offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
Unlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be obtained at community colleges or at Selma AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from just one to 3 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 training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction mandated and each state has its own requirements. So it's important to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Schools
Attending CNA classes online is emerging as a more preferred way to obtain training and attain a certificate or diploma in Selma AL. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, many online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so 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 more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your pick measures up to the other programs.
- 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 agency. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education and employment in the Selma AL area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided 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. Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Visit online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews too. Also, contact the Alabama school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Selma 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 programs 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Selma AL healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Selma AL hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placing of students in internships.