How to Pick the Right CNA Program Near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Once 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 Tuscaloosa AL. After you have attained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in health care within the United States. Although it might seem like an overwhelming task, it's important that you select the best course to acquire the necessary training and education. Many prospective students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might 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 doing your due diligence before choosing a training course consists of far more than comparing the price or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those issues together with various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
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The Duties of a CNA
CNAs are on the front lines of providing basic care to patients in a variety of health care facilities, with responsibilities ranging from assisting with personal daily needs such as bathing and exercising to monitoring vital signs and dietary restrictions. All job requirements tend to be non-invasive procedures and revolve around daily routines that patients may not be able to complete on their own. Working under the supervision of licensed nurses, CNAs provide personal, professional assistance, ensuring patients are treated with dignity and respect and while receiving necessary medical care. In addition to being able to provide day-to-day care to their patients, CNAs must be compassionate communicators who can support their patients through difficult and sometimes painful procedures. Because they provide many basic care services such as bathing patients and helping them transfer to wheelchairs, they must also have a certain level of physical fitness. CNAs are expected to be team players, serving as liaisons between other medical professionals and their patients. This often involves recording and conveying important information concerning the condition of those in their charge. CNAs are found in nearly every health care field, serving in Tuscaloosa AL locations such as long-term care facilities, rehabilitation centers, hospitals and hospices.
CNA CertificatesIn contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Tuscaloosa AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one 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 need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and every state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but additionally 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 sure that the training course is state approved. As well as 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 Programs
Attending CNA classes online is emerging as a more popular way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Tuscaloosa AL. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specific amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more accommodating answer to finding the time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and household commitments have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alabama and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the other schools.
- State Approval. Each state has its own requirements for training and certification to become a practicing CNA. When researching schools, make sure the program you select is on the state-approved program list to ensure you will meet Alabama's requirements for certification following graduation. While programs across the country all teach the same basic care principles, states may differ on the number of classroom hours and/or clinical practice time is required.
- Accreditation. The first thing you will want to look for when choosing a CNA school is accreditation. Accreditation is proof that the school in question has met certain standards required to train and educate students. As such, always make sure that the school you are researching is accredited by a national accrediting agency.
- Program Cost. The cost of a CNA program can vary from school to school, but in general, CNA training programs are less expensive than an LPN training program, as the curriculum is less in-depth. Vocational schools, community colleges and some medical facilities in the Tuscaloosa AL offer CNA training programs and may charge tuition by the credit hour or as a flat program fee. When calculating the total cost of a program, be sure to include the cost of books, course materials and uniform, background check fees, medical examination/TB test fees and the cost of the certification exam in addition to the tuition.
- Time Commitment. A CNA training program can take anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks to complete, and will include clinical training hours in addition to classroom hours. One of the reasons becoming a CNA is a great entry into the Alabama nursing profession is this fast completion time, meaning CNAs can enter the work force much more quickly than an aspiring LPN or RN. Many CNAs use a position as a CNA to determine if nursing is the right career for them, and may decide to become an LPN or RN at a later date.
- Online vs. On Campus. Another program element to consider is whether or not your school of choice offers online courses. Online courses may be more convenient for students who have other work or family obligations that limit their availability to be on campus. Online programs provide students with the flexibility to complete assignments at their Tuscaloosa AL home on their own schedules. Recognizing the need for flexibility among their students, many traditional classroom CNA programs also offer classes during nights and weekends.
Choose the Right Tuscaloosa Nurse Assistant Program
Deciding on the ideal certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the health care field. There are many variables that you should consider when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your current career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed within this article, it is important that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Tuscaloosa Alabama.