How to Select the Best Phlebotomy School near Fairbanks AK
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Fairbanks AK is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, most prospective students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision 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 evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Fairbanks AK labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Fairbanks AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can 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 practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with 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, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, most Fairbanks AK employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Fairbanks AK students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected 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 school is important if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose 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 a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with some Fairbanks AK hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with 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. 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 practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Fairbanks AK medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at 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 school has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully research and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairbanks AK.