How to Select the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Anchorage AK
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician school near Anchorage AK is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Anchorage AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Anchorage AK employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Anchorage AK students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alaska? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Anchorage AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Anchorage Alaska
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage AK.