How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Fairbanks AK
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near Fairbanks AK is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, most students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. 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 choose the best 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 Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Fairbanks AK labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Fairbanks AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic 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 exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Fairbanks AK employers require certification before hiring 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other 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 preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for many Fairbanks AK students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you choose 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 method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Fairbanks AK medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic 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 want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alaska? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with some Fairbanks AK hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Fairbanks AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, 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 find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Fairbanks Alaska
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may differ slightly 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 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 right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairbanks AK.