How to Find the Right CNA Course near Anchorage Alaska
Once you have made a decision to practice in the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of finding CNA classes near Anchorage AK. After you have attained your certification, you will begin a fulfilling career in one of the most rapidly growing occupations in medical care within the Country. Even though it may seem like a daunting task, it's important that you select the best school to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many potential students start with the two most fundamental qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may also be pondering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them at home. More about that alternative later. But doing your due diligence prior to choosing a training course entails far more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those subjects along with a few other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But first, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Role of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics and other health facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Since they are not licensed, they perform under the direction and supervision of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Providing basic services to patients
- Measuring patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and assisting patients with meals
- Conveying patients to other areas
CNAs might also work in Anchorage AK nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that most individuals carry out daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically stay in the facilities for prolonged time periods. Often, they can become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be an useful resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to earn a college degree. CNA training can be acquired at community colleges or at Anchorage AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the training can take anywhere from just one to 3 months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to obtain 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 required and each state has its own requirements. So it's crucial 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 tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training 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 can be other prerequisites as well.
CNA Online Schools
Attending CNA classes online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and acquire a certificate or diploma in Anchorage AK. Certain schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs require a specific number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this method may be a more accommodating solution to finding the time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are cheaper than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family 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 busy schedule.
Questions to Ask CNA Colleges
Now that you have selected 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 a large number of CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to lower the number of schools to select from in order that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school and the cost of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to see how your pick compares 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 acknowledged accrediting organization. Aside from helping confirm that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not available 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 specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers a top-notch education, but also prepares you to satisfy the minimum certification requirements 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. Also, check with 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 schools 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 favorable reputation within the Anchorage AK medical community, but that it also has the network of contacts to assist students attain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Various states have minimum clinical hour mandates for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with local Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Choose the Best Nurse Assistant Program
Choosing the right certified nursing assistant training program is perhaps the most important step to starting a new career in the healthcare industry. There are a number of variables that you must consider when deciding on a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed within this article, it is essential that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the healthcare community. By using our checklist 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.