How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Anchorage AK
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician school near Anchorage AK is an important first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Anchorage AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Anchorage AK employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying organizations 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 phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general idea 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 wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical 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 some questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification 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 preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose 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 in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate 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 placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 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 colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Anchorage AK medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent 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 crucial to make sure that the final school you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Anchorage Alaska
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage AK.