How to Choose the Best CNA College near Anchorage Alaska
Now that you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of finding CNA classes near Anchorage AK. As soon as you have obtained your certification, you will be starting a fulfilling career in one of the fastest increasing occupations in healthcare within the USA. Even though it may well seem like a daunting undertaking, it's important that you select the ideal school to obtain the appropriate training and education. Many prospective students begin with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. You may additionally be considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More regarding that alternative later. But completing your due diligence prior to deciding on a program involves far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be addressing those topics along with various other questions that you need to be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's talk a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are offered.
The Duties of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many jobs in the Anchorage AK hospitals, practices and other health organizations where they are employed. As indicated by their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Given that they are not licensed, they function under the direction 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 many and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Furnishing basic care to patients
- Taking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Cleaning and dressing patients
- Serving and helping patients with meals
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs can also practice in Anchorage AK nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those settings, nursing assistants are more involved in aiding patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are identified as routine activities that most people accomplish daily without aid, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually remain in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they may end up being the conduit between the patient and the balance of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be a beneficial resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA TrainingIn contrast to other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be obtained at community colleges or at Anchorage AK vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 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 training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Bear in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and that every state has its own prerequisites. So it's important to make certain that the training program you enroll in not only fulfills the federal requirements, but also 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 sure that the training is state approved. As well as the training, each state requires a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be additional prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Programs
Attending CNA classes online is becoming a more favored way to receive training and earn a certificate or diploma in Anchorage AK. Many schools will require attendance on campus for part of the training, and nearly all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours carried out 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 time to attend school for some students. Concerning tuition, many online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials can be reduced, helping to make education more easily affordable. And numerous online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and household commitments have left you with limited time to work toward 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 Degree Programs
Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges throughout Alaska and the United States. So it is important to reduce the number of schools to choose from so that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier discussed, the location of the school and the expense of tuition are probably going to be the initial two points that you will look at. But as we also emphasized, they should not be your sole qualifiers. So before making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to see how your selection compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program as well as the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you receive a quality education and employment in the Anchorage AK area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are oftentimes not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification requirements for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required. Certain states require a certain number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also readies you to satisfy the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the assessments are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to determine if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Anchorage 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 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 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 verify that the school has a good reputation within the Anchorage AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students gain employment.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to obtain experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. A number of states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Ask if the schools have a working relationship with local Anchorage AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placing of students in internships.
Choose the Best Nurse Assistant Program
Picking the right certified nursing assistant training program is probably the most crucial phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are a number of variables that you must take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career objectives, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed within this content, it is important that you choose a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By using our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to create a short list of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Anchorage AK.