How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Anchorage AK
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Anchorage AK is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider 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 you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Anchorage AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Anchorage AK employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed 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-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for some Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Anchorage AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Anchorage Alaska
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anchorage AK.