How to Find the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Anchorage AK
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Anchorage AK is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, most potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately 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 in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases 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 using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Anchorage AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting 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 range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest 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. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Anchorage AK employers require certification prior to 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part 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 in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for many Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee 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 organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy 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 below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Anchorage AK medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study 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 need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Anchorage Alaska
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage AK.