How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Anchorage AK
Choosing the right phlebotomist training near Anchorage AK is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. 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 schools 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 variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Anchorage AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method 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 phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, most Anchorage AK employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Anchorage AK students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with some Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically 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 as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at 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 jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night 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, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Anchorage Alaska
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a number of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage AK.