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How to Find the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Classes Near Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage Alaska CNA reviewing patient file with NurseNow 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 Anchorage AK. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Though it may well seem like a daunting task, it's imperative that you select the ideal program to receive the necessary training and education. A number of potential students begin with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More regarding that option later. But completing your due diligence before selecting a program entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be considered. We will be addressing those subjects together with several other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about the kind of training and credentials that are offered.

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CNA Programs

Anchorage Alaska Nursing Assistant with senior female patient in nursing home

Unlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Anchorage AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and each state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make sure that the course you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but additionally those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Schools

Anchorage Alaska young female student taking CNA training onlineAttending CNA schools online is growing into a more favored way to get instruction and earn a certificate or diploma in Anchorage AK. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain number of clinical rotation hours carried out in a local healthcare center. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend school for many students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and family obligations have left you with very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

What to Ask CNA Colleges

Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following pointers to begin narrowing down your options. As you no doubt are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to reduce the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your final decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the field.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting organization. In addition to helping make sure that you receive a premium education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs are different from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Many states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only delivers an exceptional education, but also prepares you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call some Anchorage AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA colleges you are looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to complete their programs. A low graduation rate may be an indication that students were displeased with the program and dropped out. It's also important that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only confirm that the school has a good reputation within the Anchorage AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

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