How to Pick the Best Accredited Certified Nursing Assistant Program Near Anchorage Alaska
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA training classes near Anchorage AK. Once you have attained your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in medical care within the Country. Although it may well seem like a complicated endeavor, it's essential that you pick the ideal school to acquire the proper training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More about that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to picking a training course consists of far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those topics along with a few other questions that you should be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But first, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
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The Duties of a CNA
A Certified Nursing Assistant is a critical component of the healthcare team. As a matter of fact, health care wouldn’t be possible without CNAs. The CNA is charged with the front line care of patients or residents of the healthcare agency or facility that she or he is employed by. CNAs also assist with activities of daily living such as dressing, bathing and eating. And they also have the responsibility of keeping their patients comfortable and safe. As a member of a team, the CNA reports to a nurse, most often a Registerd Nurse. Nurses rely on CNAs for patient tests, taking vital signs, and their reports about each patient’s condition. CNAs also coordinate schedules with other Anchorage AK healthcare professionals such as physical, occupational, or speech therapists. The job can be physically demanding, including lifting, positioning, and moving patients during their work shift. CNAs spend most of their day or evening on their feet because they always have a task at hand. But all in all, it’s the right profession for people who love to keep busy and help people as well as treat them with dignity and respect.
CNA DiplomasUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA instruction can be received at community colleges or at Anchorage AK vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program 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 required to have at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum amount of training directed and each state has its specific requirements. So it's important to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only meets the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training 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 other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Training
Enrolling in CNA schools online is growing into a more favored way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Anchorage AK. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specified amount of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Regarding tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you no doubt are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is important to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school along with the cost of tuition are most likely going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your final selection, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- 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 acknowledged accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you receive a premium education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may assist in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided 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. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are attending not only delivers a top-notch education, but also readies you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the assessments are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check 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 opinions 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 essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a good reputation within the Anchorage AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The best way to acquire 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 requirements for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with local Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Right Anchorage Nurse Assistant Program
Picking the right certified nursing assistant school is probably the most crucial first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are various aspects that you must think about when deciding on a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have emphasized in this article, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are both accredited and have outstanding reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose 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.