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Certified Nursing Assistant Training in Alabama

What is a CNA?

Certified nursing assistants are an integral part of healthcare facilities all over Alabama. They provide basic routine care to patients, from bathing and changing to food preparation and documentation. 

How Can I Become a Nurse Aide (CNA) in Alabama?

Are you ready to get started in the healthcare industry and give care providers more time to provide advanced care to patients?

Find out how to become a nursing aide by contacting CNA programs in Alabama below.

Whether you’re interested in becoming a CNA for a long-term career or as a stepping stone to becoming a nurse, finding an accredited training program is essential to your success. By learning more about nurse assistant training in Alabama, what you can learn, and how you can use it in the workforce, you may become an asset to any healthcare facility that employs you.

The resources below show you what it’s like to be a nursing aide and what your workdays may look like in this field.

What Kind of CNA Training Do I Need in Alabama?

To work as a nurse assistant in Alabama, you need top-notch training that meets certification standards and puts you in a position to offer evidence-based care to patients.

Certified nursing assistants spend most of their time in direct contact with patients, which is why it’s crucial to spend plenty of time perfecting your care techniques and learning how to accommodate patients of different medical needs. Keep reading to get a full picture of CNA programs in Alabama and how they can benefit you as you get started in this career.

Take the next step in your school search and request information on becoming a nurse’s aide from the programs listed below!

Getting Into a Certified Nursing Assistant Program in Alabama

CNA training courses are available at technical schools and community colleges throughout Alabama. They are also commonly offered at nursing schools, nursing homes, healthcare facilities, and public health agencies.

CNAs are responsible for routine tasks within a limited scope of practice, so training is generally short-term and fast-paced. Programs are typically less than eight weeks in length.

Programs require a high school diploma or GED and a background check. A history of felonies or violent crime may exclude you from CNA training programs.

Once you have been conditionally accepted to a program, you must pass a TB skin test. If you test positive for TB, you must complete treatment and test negative before beginning your training.

Certified Nurse Aide Application Items

  • Completed application and fee
  • High school diploma or GED
  • Drug screen
  • TB test results
  • Background check form

CNA Training in Alabama

Alabama state CNA requirements clearly outline what type of training you must complete and how much training you must finish before you can be added to the Alabama Certified Nurse Aide Registry.

In total, you need 75 hours of training. This includes 16 hours of laboratory training and 16 hours of clinical training. Programs that run on a full-time basis are often between two and three weeks long, while part-time programs for working adults may last close to six weeks. At all times, you must work under the supervision of a licensed practical nurse or registered nurse.

CNA Classes in Alabama

Your 75 hours of training are broken down into specific areas of care and healthcare knowledge. Your competency exam may touch on all of these areas, so it’s important to ask questions and request help if a concept or technique is unclear.

Nurse’s Assistant Course Topics and Hour Requirements

  • 16 hours in communication, infection control, residents’ independence, residents’ rights, the Heimlich maneuver, and emergency procedures
  • Vital signs, measuring height and weight, maintaining residents’ environment, identifying abnormal body changes, providing care for dying patients, and reporting to supervisors
  • Bathing, grooming, oral care, dressing, toiling assistance, eating and drinking, feeding techniques, skin care, and patient transfers
  • Responding to clients’ behavior, understanding the aging process, helping residents make personal choices, and encouraging strong familial relationships
  • Caring for cognitively impaired patients
  • Teaching clients about self-care, transferring with assistive devices, range of motion exercises, and proper positioning in chairs and beds
  • Patients’ rights, privacy, and confidentiality

Many of the topics listed above require hands-on training, feedback, and adjustment to ensure that patients receive the best care possible. For that reason, you cannot complete your CNA training entirely online if you plan on working as a nurse’s assistant.

At least 32 hours of your training must be completed in clinical and laboratory settings. Some schools do permit you to complete theory education online, but they do have mandatory in-person clinical and laboratory hours.

CNA Certification as a Prerequisite for Nursing School in Alabama

You may plan on working as a CNA after becoming a nursing aide, or you may simply plan on becoming certified in order to attend nursing school.

There are several reasons that nursing schools require CNA certification. Many of the skills that are drilled in during CNA training are core nursing skills. Developing these skills before you begin your RN training helps you develop your muscle memory, carry out basic care protocols without needing assistance, and build on your understanding with higher-level nursing courses.

The time you spend caring for residents as a nursing assistant can give you the empathy you need to succeed in nursing school and meet the needs of your patients.

With a CNA license, you can also work as a nurse’s aide while earning your RN degree. This work experience can help you build contacts in the healthcare industry and transition more smoothly into a registered nursing career.

Paying for a CNA Program in Alabama

After you choose a nurse assistant training program, it’s time to figure out how you will pay for it. Some CNA programs are eligible for federal financial aid, especially those that are part of a registered nursing program.

You can fill out the to find out if you qualify for subsidized loans, unsubsidized loans, or Pell Grants.

If your training is offered by a nursing home or assisted living facility, you may have your training expenses covered if you agree to work for the facility for a set amount of time after graduation.

Some organizations and associations fund scholarships for Alabama students. Through the Alliance for Opportunity and Development, those in the Huntsville area can apply for a full scholarship to a CNA program.

Using a large scholarship database like Peterson’s makes it easy to narrow down potential scholarships and keep track of application due dates.

Working as a Certified Nursing Assistant in Alabama 

CNA Requirements in Alabama

Before you can start working as a nurse assistant, you need to pass the Alabama Nurse Aid Registry examination.

They require that you take the exam within 24 months of completing your education. You have to earn a passing score in three attempts or fewer to be added to the Alabama Certified Nurse Aide Registry.

The agency recommends testing through Pearson VUE, but you may also take your tests through Prometric. Testing fees are set by each company.

Pearson VUE charges $100 for a written examination and skills evaluation or $120 for an oral examination and skills evaluation. The testing fee is $105 through Prometric.

Upon passing the exam, you are automatically added to the nurse aide registry; you do not have to pay any further fees or submit any other paperwork.

There is no renewal process in Alabama. As long as you work as a nurse aide for at least eight hours every 24 months, you remain active on the registry.

Where are the Best CNA Jobs in Alabama?

To maintain your place on the registry, you must work in an approved setting for at least eight hours every 24 months. You may work as a CNA in a variety of locations to meet state requirements and put your new skills to use.

Work Settings for Alabama CNAs

  • Community mental health centers: In this work setting, you work under the supervision of RNs to improve the quality of life for patients with mental illness.
  • Home health agencies: Home health CNAs travel to group homes or individual patients’ homes to assist with personal care routines, food preparation, medication administration, and other daily tasks, allowing patients to remain as independent as possible.
  • Hospice facilities: Under the supervision of RNs, hospice CNAs help patients in the final stages of illness.
  • Hospitals: Hospital CNAs may work in a specialty wing or be assigned to different departments as needed.
  • Nursing homes: In nursing homes, CNAs provide ongoing care to residents who need assistance due to aging, injury, or illness. Care may be provided on a permanent or temporary basis.

In each of these settings, you can use your application, CV, and interview to indicate that you have the physical strength, empathy, and healthcare knowledge needed to provide appropriate care to patients.

Alabama healthcare employers often look for the following traits or skills in applicants.

Common CNA Hiring Requirements in Alabama

  • Able to work a variety of first, second, third, and on-call shifts
  • Able to lift at least 50 pounds
  • Responds well to direction from supervisors and nursing staff
  • Willingness to clean residents’ rooms and items to keep an orderly and enjoyable environment
  • Follows instructions outlined in patient care plans

What Does a Nursing Assistant Do in Alabama?

The Alabama Certified Nurse Aide Registry outlines the scope of practice for CNAs, a topic that is thoroughly covered in CNA classes in Alabama.

CNAs can collect and document vital signs, observe abnormal changes in bodily functions, provide personal care skills, assist with nutrition and hydration, properly use orthotic and prosthetic devices, and perform range of motion exercises. Additional treatment or curative therapies are outside a CNA’s scope of practice and fall within the scope of practice of RNs, NPs, and physicians.

Your job duties are likely to change from day to day, depending on what your patients need and how many other nursing assistants are on staff. If you are working with another CNA or patient care tech, you may divide up patient rosters to ensure that each patient gets all of the services they need.

Many facilities have around-the-clock CNA staffing, so you should be ready to work second shift or third shift as needed. Many employers require weekend and holiday availability.

This is a fairly physical job; you may be responsible for lifting patients or assisting them as they walk. Even with assistive devices like hoyer lifts, this requires plenty of strength. Maintaining optimal posture and lifting technique is essential for avoiding injury or muscle pain.

In many settings, residents’ days are based on mealtimes and medication times. Giving medications at the right time is crucial for patients’ well-being and overall health. On an as-needed basis, you may offer help with toileting, emergencies, and difficult transfers.

Certified Nursing Aide Duties

  • Transfer clients with gait belts, hoyers, standing equipment, and other lifts
  • Assist clients with the restroom, maintaining as much client independence as possible
  • Administer medications at the right time, in the right dosage, and in the right manner
  • Respond to patients’ calls for help
  • Feed clients at preset meal and snack times
  • Collect and document vital signs
  • Give updates and documentation to supervisors as outlined in the chain of command
  • Communicate any changes in patient status to supervising nursing staff

How Much Does a CNA Make in Alabama?

Certified nursing assistants are generally paid on an hourly basis in Alabama. This allows for the possibility of overtime pay and holiday pay, which can significantly changed your annual income.

Some facilities offer per-hour premium pay increases for nurses willing to work second or third shift. Across the state, the average salary for a nursing assistant is $22,150 per year (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2016). Salaries tend to be a bit higher in metropolitan areas, including Jacksonville, Birmingham, Florence, and Huntsville (BLS, 2016).

The job outlook is bright for nursing assistants; the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects job openings to increase 18% between 2014 and 2024, leading to approximately 262,000 new jobs nationwide by 2024 (2016).

Important CNA Resources in Alabama

Healthcare is a field that changes constantly, and being part of your local healthcare community is an excellent way to stay on top of new laws, standards, and protocols. Employers expect care providers to be well-versed in new care techniques and standards.

Attending ongoing training events may provide you with the hands-on training needed to use new techniques in your place of employment. Building connections with other CNAs, registered nurses, healthcare administrators, and healthcare executives may help you develop your CV and expand your career options.

Networking Groups and Events for CNAs

Becoming a CNA gives you the chance to improve the lives of people in your community while doing fulfilling work.

Reports indicate that the number of Americans suffering from degenerative memory diseases is on the rise, with over 89,000 Alabama residents 65 or older suffering from Alzheimer’s as of 2016 (Dothan Eagle). This number is expected to reach 110,000 by 2025 (Dothan Eagle, 2016).

As a CNA, you can provide empathetic care that helps patients maintain their independence, dignity, and privacy while residing in a care facility.

If you’re ready to make a difference, get more information on CNA training in Alabama by reaching out to programs near you.