How to Find the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Anchorage AK
Choosing the right phlebotomist training near Anchorage AK is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes 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 much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply 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 classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Anchorage AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting 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, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed 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-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Anchorage AK students. As an added benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin 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 previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree 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 many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, 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. 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 clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Anchorage AK healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Anchorage Alaska
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage AK.