Thanks for your reply! Since my last comment, I have decided to take TCC's CNA I course this fall. It's only 5 weeks and tuition cost is $280 (I'm not sure about books/supplies/scrubs
yet, it'll probably end up being comparable to the other programs you list above). It's 3 credit hours, and since I'm already taking classes there in the fall, it'll be the easiest on my schedule. Plus, if I do the TCC CNA course, when I apply to TCC nursing school they don't require an additional skills assesment. So that's nice. I think they prefer you take their CNA course.
I do feel totally confident in my book knowledge - maybe not *all* the LTC details since I've never worked LTC, but enough to be able to take a test - we have many geriatric patients and deal with sundowner's, Alzheimers, confusion, mobility issues and daily care challenges of the geriatric patient. My hospital trained us using accredited CNA curriculum, 1 week of 8 hours a day lecture, and 4 weeks of clincals, then a written exam and a skills exam. It really should have been a state approved program, but my instructor was in the process of getting it approved when she accepted a job at another hospital, and the new instructor just doesn't care, since she kind of got thrown into the job and already has other responsibilities.
And I know I probably don't do all my skills the "proper" way all the time (does anyone after a year on the floors? LOL), but I certainly remember how and try to as much as possible, since I'm the main preceptor for the ortho and cardiac floors and have a student or orientee almost every shift.
I really think I would be fine sitting for the exam now, but I know it's best to do things in the proper way, and I'm sure I'll learn something new taking the class. I know it will be good for me to take a course, but I'm still going to grumble about the extra cost and extra time.
I appreciate this list you've compiled - it's a great resource!