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Become a Phlebotomist in Anchorage Alaska

How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Anchorage AK

Anchorage AK phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientSelecting the right phlebotomy training near Anchorage AK is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick 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 classes.

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Phlebotomist Career Description

Anchorage AK phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might 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 work environments are numerous and diverse, including Anchorage AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.

Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing

blood testing done in Anchorage AK labThere are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Anchorage AK employers look for 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist 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

Anchorage AK woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part 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. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Anchorage AK students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.

Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?

First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Anchorage AK medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges

Questions to ask Anchorage AK phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type 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 significant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected 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 quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for 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 unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable 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 colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, 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 phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish 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 expansive enough to provide sufficient training.

Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Anchorage AK health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK medical community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night 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. Even 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 should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.

Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Anchorage Alaska

Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage AK.