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Become a Phlebotomist in Anchorage Alaska

How to Select the Right Phlebotomy School near Anchorage AK

Anchorage AK phlebotomy tech drawing bloodPicking the ideal phlebotomy school near Anchorage AK is an essential first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to 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 assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary

Anchorage AK phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Anchorage AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Anchorage AK labThere are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education as well as 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, most Anchorage AK employers look for certification before 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomy Online Schools

Anchorage Alaska student attending phlebotomy school onlineTo start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Anchorage AK students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.

Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?

First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Anchorage AK medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges

What to ask Anchorage AK phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take 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 not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating 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 a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Anchorage AK medical community. And they look good on resumes also.

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

Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Anchorage Alaska

Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage AK.