How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Anchorage AK
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Anchorage AK is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing 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 Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. 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 labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Anchorage AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Anchorage AK employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
First, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Anchorage AK students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you intend 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 as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school 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 advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. 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 internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Anchorage AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to verify that the final college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. 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 have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Anchorage Alaska
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anchorage AK.