How to Find the Best Phlebotomist School near Anchorage AK
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near Anchorage AK is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, most students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Anchorage AK medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Anchorage AK employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, 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 opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very 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 exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little 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 investigate the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. 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 less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Anchorage AK health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only 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 part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Anchorage Alaska
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage AK.