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How to Select the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Program Near Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage Alaska CNA reviewing patient chart with NurseOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Anchorage AK. After you have achieved your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest expanding positions in medical care within the United States. Although it may well seem like a difficult endeavor, it's essential that you choose the ideal course to acquire the appropriate training and education. Many future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More on that option later. But performing your due diligence before choosing a training course entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be covering those issues as well as several other questions that you should 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 kind of instruction and credentials that are available.

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The Job of a CNA

Anchorage Alaska Nursing Assistant with senior woman in assisted living facility

A CNA is an important part of any healthcare team. In fact, medical care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the immediate care of residents or patients of the healthcare agency or facility that he or she is employed by. CNAs also assist with daily activities such as eating, bathing and dressing. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA works directly under a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses depend on CNAs for patient vital signs, tests, and their reports about the condition of each of their patients. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other Anchorage AK medical professionals such as speech, occupational or physical therapists. The job can be physically strenuous, including lifting, positioning, and moving patients during their work shift. CNAs spend the majority of their time on their feet because there is always something to do. But all in all, it’s the right profession for people who like to keep busy and help people while treating them with dignity and respect.

CNA Certificates

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Anchorage AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from one to 3 months, leading to 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 have to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed 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 tip is to check with 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 requirements as well.

Online CNA Schools

Anchorage Alaska young female student enrolled in CNA courses onlineAttending CNA training online is becoming a more favored way to receive instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Anchorage AK. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the time to attend college for many students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your work and family commitments have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Schools

Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, along with whether to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we already pointed out, the location of the school and the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other schools.

  • Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may assist in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification criteria for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Some states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only provides an excellent education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. In addition, check with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Anchorage AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their assessments are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA programs 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 dissatisfied with the program and dropped out. It's also imperative 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 medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students gain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most effective way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification too. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the positioning of students in internships.

Find Out How to Become a CNA in Anchorage

Choose the Best Anchorage Nurse Assistant Program

Picking the right certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are various variables that you must think about when choosing a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is important that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Anchorage Alaska.


 

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