Prior to enrolling in a CNA training program in Alabama, students should check to make sure a program is approved by the Alabama Department of Public Health. Once admitted to a training program, students may be required to submit to drug screenings and criminal background checks before starting clinical experiences. Minimum health requirements are also common. Programs generally consist of coursework, lab simulations and clinical rotations as well as an internship.
Bevill State Community College
Located in Jasper, Bevill State Community College offers a noncredit nursing assistant program through its Health Science Division. The program consists of a 75-clock-hour course that focuses on basic nursing skills. Students learn how to care for patients' daily needs, note any changes in behavior and take their vital signs.
Gadsden State Community College
Situated in the northern Alabama city of Gadsden, this college's nursing assistant program can be completed over the course of two semesters. Students are required to take traditional nursing courses as well as classes in such topics as complementary and alternative medicine and basic computer applications. An orientation course designed to help first-time college students complete program requirements is also included in the curriculum. Graduates are eligible to become CNAs or find entry-level employment as phlebotomists. Those who meet minimum GPA requirements can apply for priority admission to the school's practical nursing program.
H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College
Montgomery-based Trenholm State offers a 656-clock-hour nursing assistant course that can be completed in two terms and prepares students to take the NNAAP certification exam. Prospective CNAs take eight courses that include clinical lab work and instruction in nursing theory. Students complete courses in basic first aid, long-term clinical care and home health care. General education courses in English and math are required as well. While enrolled in this program, students can take advantage of the school's Student Services Division, which has eight departments to assist them with such areas as financial aid, academic advisement and job placement, among others.
J.F. Drake State Technical College
J. F. Drake State Technical College's 10-day 90-clock-hour certified nursing assistant program is available at its main campus in Huntsville. In addition to examining long-term patient care skills in the nursing assistant course, students take a course designed to provide them with basic workplace skills. This school also provides students with career placement services, employer recommendations and job listings posted by local employers.
Northeast Alabama Community College
Rainsville's Northeast Alabama Community College (NACC) offers a noncredit nursing assistant certificate through its Skills Training Division. This 98-clock-hour program is open to applicants without a high school diploma or GED and includes an internship. NACC also offers home health aide and patient care technician programs that include nursing assistant training as part of the curriculum. In addition to job placement services, NACC provides resume writing tips, job fairs and info on career opportunities.
Northwest-Shoals Community College
Aspiring CNAs in the Muscle Shoals area can enroll in Northwest-Shoals Community College's 80-clock-hour nursing assistant program. Curriculum includes lab courses as well as clinical rotations at local health care facilities. Students learn about home health care and prepare to take the NNAAP examination. A high school diploma or GED is not required for admission.
Reid State Technical College
Located in Evergreen, Reid State Technical College offers a 1-semester 435-clock-hour nursing assistant/home health aide program through its Health Careers and Human Services Division. Clinical experiences are held at health facilities located within 50 miles of the school, though students must complete 16 hours of training in long-term patient care techniques and medical terminology prior to patient contact. The program also includes instruction in CPR and first aid. Applicants without a high school diploma or GED are admitted, provided they earn passing scores on a placement exam. All students can take advantage of the job search services offered through the school's Student Services Division.
Shelton State Community College
Shelton State Community College, located in Tuscaloosa, offers a 2-semester nursing assistant/home health program that includes classroom studies, labs and clinical rotations. Students can complete some of these requirements at the Martin Campus' nursing skills lab, which includes nursing software, patient simulators and medical equipment. This school also features a Career Services Center that assists students with resume preparation, career assessments and job searches.
University of West Alabama
The University of West Alabama is located in Livingston. Students in its CNA program complete 55 hours of lecture coursework and 20 hours of clinical training where they examine techniques for providing basic nursing care to patients. Students also learn how to administer CPR and first aid. In addition to holding a high school diploma or GED, applicants must demonstrate a need for completing this program, which is designed to help unemployed or economically disadvantaged students become financially self-sufficient. This workforce development program is one of several resources offered through the college's Division of Outreach Services.
To become a certified nursing attendant, assistant or aide (CNA) in Alabama, students must complete a state-approved training program. They must also pass the National Nurse Aide Assessment Program (NNAAP) examination before they can have their names added to the Alabama Certified Nurse Aide Registry. This 2-part exam consists of written and practical skills tests. Students must pass it within 24 months of completing their training. The programs below are offered at ten Alabama schools:
- Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide
- Certified Nursing Assistant Program
- Nursing Assistant Short-Term Certificate
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type and Setting||Certified Nursing Attendant Programs Offered||Program Tuition & Fees|
|Bevill State Community College||2-year, public; distant town||Nursing Assistant Certificate of Completion||$144 per credit in-state, $288 per credit out-of-state (2015-2016)*|
|Gadsden State Community College||2-year, public; small city||Nursing Assistant Short-Term Certificate||$3,696 in-state (2015)*|
|H. Councill Trenholm State Technical College||2-year, public; midsize city||Nursing Assisting/Home Health Aide Short-Term Certificate||$141 per credit in-state, $242 per credit out-of-state (as of 2015)*|
|J.F. Drake State Technical College||2-year, public; midsize city||Nursing Assistant Career Skills Certificate||$760 (as of 2015)*|
|Northeast Alabama Community College||2-year, public; rural||Nursing Assistant Noncredit Certificate||$563 (as of 2013)*|
|Northwest-Shoals Community College||2-year, public; small city||Certified Nursing Assistant Program||$144 per credit in-state, $259 per credit out-of-state (tuition only, as of 2015-2016)*|
|Reid State Technical College||2-year, public; rural||Nursing Assistant/Home Health Aide Short Certificate||$2,670.12 (2015-2016)*|
|Shelton State Community College||2-year, public; small city||Nursing Assistant/Home Health Certificate||$134 per credit in-state, $249 per credit out-of-state (2016)*|
|University of West Alabama||4-year, public; rural||Certified Nursing Assistant Program||N/A|
Source: *Schools' websites