How to Choose the Best Accredited CNA College Near Tuscaloosa Alabama
Once 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 Tuscaloosa AL. Once you have attained your certification, you will begin a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the United States. Though it may well seem like a complicated undertaking, it's imperative that you choose the ideal program to obtain the appropriate training and education. A number of future students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More about that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to deciding on a training course involves much 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 addressing those topics together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of instruction and credentials that are offered.
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The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
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 CertificatesUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Tuscaloosa AL vocational or trade schools. The duration 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 mandated to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and that each state has its own requirements. So it's crucial to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the education is state certified. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Programs
Attending CNA programs online is growing into a more preferred way to receive training and earn a certificate or diploma in Tuscaloosa AL. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs require 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 method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and family obligations have left you with little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alabama and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the initial two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.
- 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
Picking the best certified nursing assistant school is potentially the most crucial step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized within this post, it is important 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 develop a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and drive to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Tuscaloosa Alabama.