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How to Pick the Best Certified Nursing Assistant Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska

Fairbanks AK Certified Nursing Assistant taking man's vital signsOnce you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to begin the process of searching for CNA training programs near Fairbanks AK. Once you have attained your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in healthcare within the United States. Though it may well seem like a difficult undertaking, it's important that you select the best course to receive the appropriate training and education. A number of potential students start with the two most basic qualifications, which are the location of the school and the price of tuition. You might also be debating whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA program and attend them at home. More regarding that option later. But completing your due diligence prior to deciding on a training course consists of far more than comparing the tuition or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be considered. We will be covering those subjects along with several other questions that you should 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 kind of training and credentials that are available.

The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant

Fairbanks AK Certified Nursing Assistant assisting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants are responsible for many tasks in the Fairbanks AK hospitals, practices and other medical facilities where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they work under the direction and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their main job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are numerous and diverse, and in a hospital environment may include:

  • Providing basic care to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining 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 Fairbanks 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 the majority of people perform daily without aid, such as eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants typically develop more of a bond with these types of patients since they often stay in the facilities for extended periods of time. Frequently, they may become the pipeline between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their familiarity with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's knowledge can be a valued resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Programs

In contrast to some other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to obtain a college degree. CNA instruction can be acquired at community colleges or at Fairbanks AK vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from just one to three months, leading to either a certificate or a diploma. Within the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are mandated to receive at least 75 hours of training, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and each state has its specific prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the program you enroll in not only complies with the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to contact the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the education is state approved. In addition to the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there can be other prerequisites as well.

Online CNA Classes

Fairbanks AK student taking CNA online classesAttending CNA training online is growing into a more in demand way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Fairbanks AK. Certain schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours conducted in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training may be accessed online, this option may be a more accommodating approach to finding the free time to attend college for some students. Pertaining to tuition, some online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus choices. Even supplementary expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more affordable. And a large number of online programs are accredited by organizations such as the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your job and household obligations have left you with limited time to work toward your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

What to Ask CNA Schools

Once you have decided on which nursing program to enroll in, as well as if to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you probably realize, 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 choose from to ensure that you will have a workable list. As we already mentioned, the site of the school as well as the expense of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the first two factors that you will consider. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So prior to making your ultimate choice, use the following questions to evaluate 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 recognized accrediting agency. In addition to helping ensure that you obtain an excellent education and employment in the Fairbanks AK area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently 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.  Some states require a specified number of clinical hours be performed, as well. It's important that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an excellent 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 companies to see what the reviews are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. In addition, contact the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can contact some Fairbanks AK healthcare organizations you're interested in working for after graduation and ask what their opinions are of the schools as well.
  • Graduation and Job Placement Rates. Find out from the CNA schools 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 unhappy with the program and dropped out. It's also essential that the schools have high job placement rates. A high rate will not only verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fairbanks AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students attain employment.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a certain number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification too. Find out if the schools have associations with local Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Pick the Right Nurse Assistant Program

Choosing the right certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most crucial phase to beginning a new career in the medical care field. There are a number of variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently depending on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic situation. As we have emphasized in this content, it is important that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are both accredited and have excellent reputations within the health care community. By utilizing our list of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to pick from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the appropriate degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Fairbanks AK.