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Become a Phlebotomist in Anchorage Alaska

How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Anchorage AK

Anchorage AK phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientChoosing the right phlebotomy technician school near Anchorage AK is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk 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 finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.

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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary

Anchorage AK phlebotomist laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Anchorage AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.

Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification

blood testing performed in Anchorage AK laboratoryThere are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, a number of Anchorage AK employers require certification before hiring 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomy Online Classes

Anchorage AK student attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for many Anchorage AK students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a respected 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 school aside from a guarantee 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 earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Anchorage AK job market.

What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little 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 investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Anchorage AK healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK health care community.

Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to 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 on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Anchorage Alaska

Anchorage AK phlebotomist lab blood analysisMaking sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anchorage AK.