How to Enroll In the Best CNA Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Now that you have decided to enter the healthcare field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Fairbanks AK. As soon as you have achieved your certification, you will be starting a gratifying career in one of the most rapidly increasing occupations in healthcare within the Country. Although it might seem like a daunting endeavor, it's imperative that you pick the right program to obtain the proper training and education. A number of future students begin with the two most essential qualifications, which are the location of the school and the cost 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 regarding that alternative later. But performing your due diligence before selecting a training course consists of much more than comparing the cost or location. Such things as accreditation and the reputation of the school must similarly be taken into consideration. We will be covering those subjects along with various other questions that you should be asking before you register in a CNA school. But to start with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the kind of instruction and credentials that are offered.
The Job of a CNA
Certified Nursing Assistants perform many jobs in the Fairbanks AK hospitals, practices and other health care organizations where they work. Per their title, CNAs are not licensed by the state but rather are certified. Because they are not licensed, they perform under the guidance and oversight of either a licensed LPN or RN. Plus as nursing assistants, their prime job function is to help the licensed nurses that they work under. Their responsibilities are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting might include:
- Administering basic services 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
- Conveying patients to other rooms
CNAs may also practice in Fairbanks AK nursing homes or long term care centers. In those environments, nursing assistants are more involved in supporting patients with their Activities of Daily Living (ADL). ADLs are defined as routine activities that the majority of people accomplish daily without assistance, including eating, dressing, or using the restroom. Nursing assistants commonly develop more of a bond with these patients since they typically remain in the facilities for prolonged periods of time. Frequently, they may become the channel between the patient and the balance of the medical staff due to their relationships with their charges. Because of this, the CNA's expertise can be a significant resource for planning the proper care and treatment of long term care patients.
CNA CoursesUnlike many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not have to earn a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Fairbanks AK vocational or trade schools. The length of the training program can take anywhere from one to 3 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 need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimal amount of training mandated and that every state has its own requirements. 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 recommendation is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make sure 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 may be other requirements as well.
CNA Online Schools
Enrolling in CNA programs online is becoming a more popular way to receive instruction and acquire a certificate or diploma in Fairbanks AK. Many schools will require attendance on campus for a component of the training, and virtually all programs require a certain amount of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the rest of the training can be accessed online, this option may be a more practical answer to finding the free time to attend classes for some students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less expensive than other on campus choices. Even additional expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be minimized, helping to make education more easily affordable. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). So if your job and household obligations have left you with very little time to pursue your academic goals, maybe an online CNA school will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your active schedule.
What to Ask CNA Colleges
Once you have selected which nursing program to enroll in, along with if to attend your classes on campus or on the internet, you can use the following guidelines to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly realize, there are many CNA schools and colleges within Alaska and the United States. So it is necessary to decrease the number of schools to select from so that you will have a workable list. As we earlier mentioned, the location of the school along with the cost of tuition are probably going to be the first two points that you will look at. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your final choice, use the following questions to evaluate how your pick compares to the field.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the certificate program along with the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education acknowledged accrediting agency. Besides helping verify that you get a quality education and employment in the Fairbanks AK area, it may help in securing financial aid or student loans, which are often not provided for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification prerequisites for CNAs are different 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only delivers an outstanding education, but also preps you to comply with the minimum certification requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing.
- Reputation. Check online rating services to see what the reviews are for each of the schools you are looking into. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. 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 Fairbanks 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 colleges 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 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 contacts to help students gain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most effective way to acquire experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical environment. Almost all nursing degree programs require a specified number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification as well. Find out if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics or labs and assist with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Nurse Assistant Program
Picking the right certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most critical phase to starting a new career in the health care field. There are various variables that you need to think about when choosing a nursing school. These variables will be prioritized differently contingent on your current career goals, obligations, and economic situation. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you select a CNA school and a certificate program that are each accredited and have excellent reputations within the medical community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to choose from so that you can make your final selection. And with the proper degree and training, combined with your dedication and desire to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Fairbanks AK.