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Become a Phlebotomist in Fairbanks Alaska

How to Find the Best Phlebotomy School near Fairbanks AK

Fairbanks AK phlebotomy tech drawing bloodChoosing the right phlebotomy school near Fairbanks AK is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.

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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description

Fairbanks AK phlebotomist laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out 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 screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Fairbanks AK laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Fairbanks AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.

Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification

blood testing done in Fairbanks AK labThere are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Fairbanks AK employers require certification before employing technicians. Some 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomy Online Colleges

Fairbanks AK woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical 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 completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Fairbanks AK students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). 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 right choice for you.

Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school 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 phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical 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 complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.

What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact several Fairbanks AK clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Provided? 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 phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available 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 also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK medical community.

Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And 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 procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

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Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Fairbanks Alaska

Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Fairbanks AK.