How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Anchorage AK
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Anchorage AK is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection 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 ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly 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 laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places 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 of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Anchorage AK employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program 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 quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now 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 picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing 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 Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Anchorage AK healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most 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 verify that the final college you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training near Anchorage Alaska
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage AK.