How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Anchorage AK
Choosing the right phlebotomy training near Anchorage AK is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, most prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Anchorage AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Anchorage AK employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the key certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. 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 working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out 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 (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Anchorage AK medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer 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 program has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anchorage AK, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Anchorage Alaska
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage AK.