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How to Enroll In the Right Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage AK CNA taking man's vital signsNow 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 classes near Anchorage AK. As soon as you have earned your certification, you will begin a gratifying career in one of the fastest increasing positions in medical care within the USA. Even though it may seem like a challenging task, it's essential that you select the right program to receive the necessary training and education. A number of future students start with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You might also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More on that alternative later. But completing your due diligence before choosing a program involves much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering 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 what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are available.

The Job of a Nursing Assistant

Anchorage AK Certified Nursing Assistant assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants perform many duties in the Anchorage AK hospitals, practices and other medical facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their primary job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and varied, and in a hospital setting might include:

  • Administering basic care to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Keeping a record of patient's health status
  • Cleaning and dressing patients
  • Serving and assisting patients with meals
  • Moving patients to other areas

CNAs may also work in Anchorage AK nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, 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 perform daily without help, such as eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these patients since they usually stay in the facilities for extensive time frames. Often, they can end up being the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

Unlike other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to attain a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Anchorage AK vocational or trade schools. The duration of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal period of instruction required and that every state has its own requirements. So it's necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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 may be additional prerequisites as well.

CNA Online Training

Anchorage AK woman taking CNA online coursesEnrolling in CNA schools online is emerging as a more popular way to obtain training and attain a certificate or diploma in Anchorage AK. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare center. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for many students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus choices. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be minimized, helping to make education more economical. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household responsibilities have left you with limited time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA school will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your busy schedule.

Things to Ask CNA Colleges

Once you have determined which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you no doubt realize, there are numerous CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is essential to lower the number of schools to select from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already pointed out, the site of the school as well as the price of tuition are probably going to be the first two factors that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your selection 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 agency. In addition to helping make sure that you get a premium education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not available 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.  Many states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
  • Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Also, contact 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 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 superb reputation within the Anchorage AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to help students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Essentially all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Find out if the schools have associations with local Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Enroll in the Right Nurse Assistant Program

Picking the right certified nursing assistant school is perhaps the most crucial step to beginning a new career in the health care industry. There are a number of factors that you must take into account when picking a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic status. As we have stressed in this content, it is essential that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the health care community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to develop a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your final selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Anchorage AK.