How to Enroll In the Right Accredited CNA Classes Near Fairbanks Alaska
Once you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA classes near Fairbanks AK. After you have attained your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the fastest expanding occupations in medical care within the USA. Even though it may well seem like a daunting endeavor, it's imperative that you select the ideal course to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many potential students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More about that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before picking a school entails much more than comparing the price or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics as well as several 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 what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
It Takes Just a Few Minutes to Start Your CNA Career
The Function of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many duties in the Fairbanks AK hospitals, practices and other healthcare facilities where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the guidance and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their main job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Maintaining a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Transferring patients to other areas
CNAs can also practice in Fairbanks AK nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without help, for example eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically build more of a bond with these patients since they usually remain in the facilities for extended time frames. Frequently, they can become the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's expertise can be a valued resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA DiplomasUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be received at community colleges or at Fairbanks AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 months, resulting in 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 instruction mandated and every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the course you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise 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 training is state certified. In addition to the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA training online is becoming a more preferred way to receive training 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 specified amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend classes for some students. Regarding 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 may be reduced, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have determined which nursing program to pursue, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to begin narrowing down your choices. As you undoubtedly are aware, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we previously pointed out, the site of the school and the price of tuition are probably going to be the primary two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to see how your pick compares to the field.
- 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. Aside from helping verify that you receive a premium education and employment in the Fairbanks AK area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered 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. Some states require a specific number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Look at online rating services to see what the assessments are for each 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 call some Fairbanks AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their judgements 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 confirm that the school has a superb reputation within the Fairbanks AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students attain employment.
- 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 specific number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour mandates 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.
Choose the Right Fairbanks Nurse Assistant School
Picking the right certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most important first step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous factors that you must take into account when selecting a nursing school. These factors will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is essential that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the medical community. By using our checklist 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 appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Fairbanks Alaska.