How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Anchorage AK
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Anchorage AK is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Anchorage AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Anchorage AK employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component 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 in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for many Anchorage AK students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior 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 best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may 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 campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact some Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Anchorage AK medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Anchorage Alaska
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage AK.