How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Anchorage AK
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Anchorage AK is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search 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 discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Anchorage AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, many Anchorage AK employers require 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
To start with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component 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 in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for many Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Anchorage AK medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist 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 decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working 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 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 expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Anchorage AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anchorage AK, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Anchorage Alaska
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each program prior to 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 pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anchorage AK.