How to Find the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Anchorage AK
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Anchorage AK is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select 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 training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point 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 can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Anchorage AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Anchorage AK employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Anchorage AK students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important 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 college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations 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 selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. 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 readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as 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 quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with 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 looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Anchorage AK healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority 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 Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Anchorage Alaska
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anchorage AK.