How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Anchorage AK
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Anchorage AK is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate 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 receive a quality education. In fact, many potential students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online 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 much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Anchorage AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind 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 mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types 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 provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Anchorage AK employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal 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 few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general understanding 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 intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. 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. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to 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 phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin 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 solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at 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 adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Anchorage AK healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask 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 positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Anchorage Alaska
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anchorage AK.