How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Anchorage AK
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist training near Anchorage AK is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, many potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Anchorage AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Anchorage AK employers require certification prior to hiring 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Anchorage AK students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program 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 receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may 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 preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick 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 several advantages 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 exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive 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 health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Anchorage AK healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the final college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, check that 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 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 need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Anchorage Alaska
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anchorage AK.