How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Anchorage AK
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Anchorage AK is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, most prospective students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision 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 evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Anchorage AK labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Anchorage AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Anchorage AK employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many Anchorage AK students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need 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 College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized 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 exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, contact 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 (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Anchorage AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night 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, confirm 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 protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Anchorage Alaska
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each school before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anchorage AK.