How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Anchorage AK
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Anchorage AK is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply 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 prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Anchorage AK labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Anchorage AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Anchorage AK employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary 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 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 supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
First, let's resolve one likely 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 performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Anchorage AK medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very 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 exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Anchorage AK health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, 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 Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anchorage AK, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure 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 policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Anchorage Alaska
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage AK.