How to Choose the Right Certified Nursing Assistant College near Fairbanks Alaska
Once you have decided to enter the medical field as a certified nursing assistant, it's time to start the process of searching for CNA training programs near Fairbanks AK. Once you have earned your certification, you will be starting a rewarding career in one of the fastest growing occupations in health care within the USA. Although it might seem like a daunting undertaking, it's essential that you pick the ideal school to acquire the appropriate training and education. Many future students begin with the two most essential 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 at home. More regarding that option later. But completing your due diligence before picking a school entails much more than comparing the cost or location. Such qualifiers as accreditation and the reputation of the school must also be taken into account. We will be covering those topics as well as various other questions that you need to be asking before you enroll in a CNA school. But to begin with, let's discuss a little bit about what a nursing assistant does and the type of training and credentials that are available.
The Job of a Certified Nursing Assistant
Certified Nursing Assistants complete many jobs 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 perform under the direction and management of either a licensed LPN or RN. And as nursing assistants, their primary job function is to aid the licensed nurses that they work under. Their duties are many and diverse, and in a hospital setting may include:
- Providing basic care to patients
- Checking patient's vital signs
- Keeping a record of patient's health status
- Bathing and dressing patients
- Serving and aiding patients with meals
- Moving patients to other rooms
CNAs can also work in Fairbanks AK nursing homes or long term care facilities. In those environments, 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 aid, for example eating, dressing, or using the washroom. Nursing assistants commonly build more of a bond with these patients since they commonly reside in the facilities for extensive time frames. Frequently, they can become the channel between the patient and the rest of the medical staff thanks to their relationships with their charges. Consequently, the CNA's knowledge can be an useful resource for planning the appropriate care and treatment of long term care patients.
Certified Nursing Assistant CertificatesIn contrast to many other licensed nurses, certified nursing assistants do not need to attain a college degree. CNA education can be received at community colleges or at Fairbanks AK vocational or trade schools. The duration of the training can take anywhere from 1 to three months, resulting in 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 need to be clinical or "hands-on" training hours. Keep in mind that this is the minimum period of instruction required and each state has its own prerequisites. So it's essential to make sure that the training program you enroll in not only satisfies the federal requirements, but likewise those for the state where you will be practicing. One suggestion is to get in touch with the health or nursing board for your state to make certain that the training course is state certified. Along with the training, each state mandates a passing score on a competency test for certification. Depending on the state, there may be other prerequisites as well.
Online CNA Schools
Attending CNA classes online is growing into a more in demand way to receive training and attain a certificate or diploma in Fairbanks AK. Many schools will require attending on campus for part of the training, and virtually all programs call for a specified number of clinical rotation hours performed in a local healthcare facility. But since the balance of the training can be accessed online, this alternative may be a more convenient approach to finding the free time to attend school for many students. Concerning tuition, a number of online CNA programs are less costly than other on campus alternatives. Even supplemental expenses such as for commuting and study materials may be lessened, helping to make education more economical. And many online programs are accredited by organizations like the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). And so if your work and family responsibilities have left you with little time to pursue your academic goals, it could be that an online CNA training program will make it more convenient to fit earning a certificate into your hectic schedule.
Things to Ask CNA Training Classes
Once you have chosen which nursing program to enroll in, as well as whether to attend your classes on campus or on the web, you can utilize the following checklist to start narrowing down your options. As you undoubtedly are aware, 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 in order that you will have a manageable list. As we already mentioned, the location of the school and the price of tuition are undoubtedly going to be the primary two things that you will take into consideration. But as we also stressed, they should not be your only qualifiers. So before making your ultimate selection, use the following questions to evaluate how your selection compares to the other programs.
- Accreditation. It's a good idea to make sure that the CNA certificate program in addition to the school is accredited by a U.S. Department of Education recognized accrediting organization. In addition to helping verify that you obtain a quality education and employment in the Fairbanks AK area, it may help in obtaining financial aid or student loans, which are often not offered for non-accredited schools.
- Certification Preparation. Certification criteria 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 imperative that the school you are enrolled in not only provides an exceptional education, but also prepares you to meet the minimum certification standards for Alaska or the state where you will be working.
- Reputation. Check online rating companies to see what the evaluations are for each of the schools you are considering. Ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. Additionally, check with the Alaska school certification or licensing authority to find out if there are any complaints or compliance issues. Finally, you can call 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 colleges 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 verify that the school has a favorable reputation within the Fairbanks AK healthcare community, but that it also has the network of relationships to help students obtain a position.
- Internship Programs. The most ideal way to get experience as a certified nursing assistant is to work in a clinical setting. Virtually all nursing degree programs require a specific number of clinical hours be completed. Many states have minimum clinical hour prerequisites for certification too. Check if the schools have a working relationship with nearby Fairbanks AK hospitals, clinics or labs and help with the placement of students in internships.
Enroll in the Best Fairbanks CNA School
Choosing the best certified nursing assistant program is potentially the most critical phase to launching a new career in the medical care field. There are numerous variables that you should think about when selecting a nursing school. These aspects will be prioritized differently contingent on your existing career goals, lifestyle, and economic status. As we have stressed in this post, it is critical that you choose a CNA college and a certificate program that are each accredited and have outstanding reputations within the healthcare community. By utilizing our checklist of qualifying questions, you will be able to produce a shortlist of schools to select from so that you can make your ultimate selection. And with the right degree and training, combined with your hard work and ambition to succeed, you can become a certified nursing assistant in Fairbanks AK.