How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program Near Anchorage Alaska
Now that you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training classes near Anchorage AK. After you have earned your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the fastest growing occupations in medical care within the United States. Even though it might seem like a difficult endeavor, it's imperative that you choose the ideal course to acquire the proper training and education. A number of future students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them from home. More about that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to deciding on a school entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be considered. We will be addressing those issues together with a few 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 what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
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The Role of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics and other health care facilities where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Administering basic services to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in Anchorage AK nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without assistance, for example eating, dressing, or using the bathroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extended periods of time. Often, they can end up being the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for preparing the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CertificatesUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Anchorage AK vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of training required and each state has its own requirements. So it's important to make sure that the course you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One recommendation is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training is state certified. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other requirements as well.
Online CNA Training
Attending CNA schools online is emerging as a more favored way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Anchorage AK. Some schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating solution to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Therefore if your job and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Schools
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease 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 along with the expense of tuition are most likely going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping confirm that you obtain a premium education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs are different 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 delivers an excellent education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, get in touch with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to find out 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 considering 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 substantiate that the school has a superb reputation within the Anchorage AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students attain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Anchorage Nurse Assistant Program
Selecting the ideal certified nursing assistant degree program is perhaps the most important first step to launching a new career in the healthcare field. There are a number of factors that you must consider when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this article, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Anchorage Alaska.