How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Fairbanks AK
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician school near Fairbanks AK is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Fairbanks AK labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Fairbanks AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Fairbanks AK employers look for certification before employing technicians. A few of the main certifying organizations 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 phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component 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. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Fairbanks AK students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. 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 research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Fairbanks AK hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer 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 schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Fairbanks AK health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide 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 college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairbanks AK.