How to Find the Best CNA Course near Anchorage Alaska
Once you have made a decision to practice in the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training classes near Anchorage AK. After you have achieved your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly expanding occupations in medical care within the USA. Even though it may seem like a difficult task, it's essential that you select the best course to acquire the proper training and education. Many future students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might additionally be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More about that option later. But performing your due diligence prior to deciding on a program entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be addressing those issues together with various other questions that you need to 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 type of instruction and credentials that are available.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many functions in the Anchorage AK hospitals, practices and other medical facilities where they work. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:
- Providing 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 might also work in Anchorage AK nursing homes or long term care facilities. 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 accomplish daily without aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these patients since they usually reside in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Often, they can end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for preparing the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Anchorage AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the instruction can take anywhere from 1 to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimal amount of training directed and that every state has its specific prerequisites. So it's necessary to make certain that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise 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 certain that the training course is state approved. 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 requirements as well.
CNA Online Classes
Enrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more popular way to obtain instruction and attain a certificate or diploma in Anchorage AK. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs call for a certain number of clinical rotation hours completed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more convenient solution to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Pertaining to tuition, a number of online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials can 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). Therefore if your work and household responsibilities have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
What to Ask CNA Degree Programs
Now that you have decided on which nursing program to pursue, and if to attend your classes on campus or online, you can use the following pointers to start narrowing down your choices. As you probably are aware, there are a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to choose from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the first two things that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate decision, use the following questions to see how your selection measures up to the other schools.
- 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 make sure that you receive an excellent education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may assist in securing financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs differ from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a specific number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are attending not only provides a top-notch education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Look at online rating companies to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. In addition, contact the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 looking at what their graduation rates are as well as how long on average it takes students to finish 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 good reputation within the Anchorage AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get 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. Various states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification also. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Pick the Best Nurse Assistant School
Enrolling in the best certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most crucial first step to launching a new career in the health care industry. There are many factors that you need to think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, lifestyle, and financial status. As we have pointed out within this content, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your hard work and desire to succeed, you can become a CNA in Anchorage AK.