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

Fairbanks AK Nursing Assistant taking patient's vital signsNow that 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. After you have attained your certification, you will launch a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in medical care within the Country. Even though it may seem like a complicated undertaking, it's important that you pick the right program to receive the necessary training and education. Many 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 considering whether to attend CNA classes on campus, or enroll in an online CNA course and attend them from home. More regarding that option later. But doing your due diligence prior to deciding on a training course involves much more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must additionally be taken into account. We will be addressing those issues along with a few 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 offered.

The Role of a Nursing Assistant

Fairbanks AK Certified Nursing Assistant greeting man on crutches

Certified Nursing Assistants carry out many tasks in the Fairbanks AK hospitals, practices and other medical organizations where they are employed. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but instead are certified. Since they are not licensed, they work under the guidance and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job duty is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and varied, and in a hospital environment might include:

  • Furnishing basic care to patients
  • Taking patient's vital signs
  • Maintaining 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 Fairbanks AK nursing homes or long term care centers. In those settings, nursing assistants are more engaged in helping patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are characterized as routine activities that the majority of people carry out daily without help, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants usually build more of a bond with these types of patients since they usually remain in the facilities for extended time frames. In many cases, they can become the conduit between the patient and the rest of the medical staff because of their familiarity with their charges. As a result, the CNA's knowledge can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.

CNA Certificates

In contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to obtain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Fairbanks AK vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training program can take anywhere from one to three months, resulting in either a certificate or a diploma. Under the 1987 Nursing Home Reform Act, students are required to receive at least 75 hours of instruction, 16 of which must be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum amount of instruction mandated and that each state has its own prerequisites. So it's necessary to make sure that the program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but also those for the state where you will be practicing. One tip is to check with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure that the training course is state certified. As well as the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there might be additional requirements as well.

CNA Online Training

Fairbanks AK student taking online CNA trainingEnrolling in CNA programs online is growing into a more popular way to get instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Fairbanks AK. Many schools will require attending on campus for a component of the training, and almost all programs call for a specific number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the remainder of the training may be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient solution to finding the time to attend college for some students. Regarding tuition, some online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus options. Even other expenses such as for commuting and study materials may 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 job and family obligations have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, perhaps an online CNA training program will make it easier to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.

Questions to Ask CNA Training Classes

Now that you have chosen which nursing program to pursue, and whether to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can utilize the following pointers to start narrowing down your options. 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 to ensure that you will have a manageable list. As we earlier pointed out, the location of the school along with the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two factors that you will consider. 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 measures up 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 recognized accrediting agency. Besides helping confirm that you receive a quality education and employment in the Fairbanks AK area, it may help in acquiring financial aid or student loans, which are frequently not offered for non-accredited schools.
  • Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs vary from state to state. For CNA certification, passing a state specific exam is required.  Certain states require a specified number of clinical hours be completed, as well. It's essential that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an outstanding education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
  • Reputation. Look at internet rating services to see what the evaluations are for all of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. Also, get in touch with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to check out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can speak with some Fairbanks 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 considering 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 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 substantiate that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fairbanks AK medical community, but that it also has the network of relationships to assist students obtain a position.
  • Internship Programs. The best way to get 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. Many states have minimum clinical hour requirements for certification also. Ask if the schools have associations with nearby Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the positioning of students in internships.

Learn How to Choose a CNA School

Enroll in the Right CNA Training

Choosing the best certified nursing assistant training program is perhaps the most important step to starting a new career in the health care industry. There are numerous variables that you should take into account when choosing a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and financial situation. As we have stressed in this content, it is critical that you pick a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have exceptional reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a short list of schools to choose from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your dedication and ambition to succeed, you can become a CNA in Fairbanks AK.