How to Select the Best CNA School Near Fairbanks Alaska
Now 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 Fairbanks AK. Once you have earned your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest increasing positions in healthcare within the USA. Although it might seem like a daunting undertaking, it's important that you pick the best school to obtain the necessary training and education. A number of prospective students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be contemplating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More concerning that option later. But completing your due diligence before deciding on a training course involves much more than comparing the price or location. Such factors as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those subjects together with a few other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about the kind of training and credentials that are available.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA education can be acquired at community colleges or at Fairbanks AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 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 amount of instruction mandated and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies 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 certified. 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.
Online CNA Training
Attending CNA programs online is growing into a more in demand way to obtain instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Fairbanks AK. Some schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, some online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And numerous 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 very little time to work toward your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Training Classes
Once you have determined which nursing program to pursue, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to reduce the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we previously discussed, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are most likely going to be the primary two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final selection, 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 ensure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Fairbanks 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 differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews too. In addition, contact the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Fairbanks 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 imperative that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fairbanks AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Check if the schools have associations with local Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.