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Become a Phlebotomist in Anchorage Alaska

How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Anchorage AK

Anchorage AK phlebotomist drawing bloodChoosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Anchorage AK is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit 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 locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best 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 Tech Career Summary

Anchorage AK phlebotomy lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?

The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Anchorage AK medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.

Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing

blood testing done in Anchorage AK labThere are essentially two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic 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 phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Anchorage AK employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the key certifying organizations 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, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomist Classes

Anchorage AK student attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out 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 may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for many Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior 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 previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree 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 many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with 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 place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn 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 (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Anchorage AK medical community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK healthcare community.

Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage AK phlebotomy lab blood analysisMaking sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage AK.