How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Fairbanks AK
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Fairbanks AK is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, most potential students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools 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 cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Fairbanks AK laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Fairbanks AK medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Fairbanks AK employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical 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 in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Fairbanks AK students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional 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 attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before 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 require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality 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 agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact several Fairbanks AK clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Fairbanks AK healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask 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 program has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Fairbanks Alaska
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Fairbanks AK.