How to Enroll In the Right CNA Classes Near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA training classes near Tuscaloosa AL. After you have attained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest growing occupations in healthcare within the USA. Though it may well seem like a complicated task, it's essential that you choose the right program to acquire the proper training and education. A number of prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More regarding that alternative later. But doing your due diligence before deciding on a program requires much more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those issues along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you register 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.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
The Function 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 TrainingIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Tuscaloosa AL vocational or trade schools. The length of the training 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 mandated 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 amount of instruction required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain 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 certain that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA programs online is emerging as a more popular way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Tuscaloosa AL. Certain schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more practical answer to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Schools
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably are aware, there are many 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 earlier pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two factors that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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.
Pick the Best Tuscaloosa Nurse Assistant School
Enrolling in the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is potentially the most critical first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of variables that you should consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial status. As we have stressed within this post, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare 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 proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Tuscaloosa Alabama.