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Become a Phlebotomist in Anchorage Alaska

How to Find the Right Phlebotomy School near Anchorage AK

Anchorage AK phlebotomist drawing bloodChoosing the right phlebotomist training near Anchorage AK is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision 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 evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.

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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary

Anchorage AK phlebotomy laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?

The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Anchorage AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older 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 environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.

Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification

blood analysis done in Anchorage AK laboratoryThere are essentially 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Anchorage AK employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the key certifying agencies 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, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of 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 readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomist Online Training

Anchorage Alaska student attending phlebotomy school onlineFirst, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.

Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?

Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Anchorage AK medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

Questions to ask Anchorage AK phlebotomy schoolsSince you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you intend 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 tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized regional or national 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 an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take 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. 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 School's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start 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 reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 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 comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Anchorage AK health care community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering 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 school has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK health care community.

Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you need to 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 on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.

Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Anchorage Alaska

Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anchorage AK.