How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Fairbanks AK
Picking the ideal phlebotomist training near Fairbanks AK is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most prospective students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may 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 comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Fairbanks AK labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Fairbanks AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Fairbanks AK employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying organizations 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 phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical 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. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Fairbanks AK students. As an added benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national 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 degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you wish 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. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with 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 phlebotomist school and program 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 benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with a few Fairbanks AK hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide 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 colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Fairbanks AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to confirm that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a number of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school before 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 pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairbanks AK.