How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Fairbanks AK
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist training near Fairbanks AK is an important initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, most students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, 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 best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Fairbanks AK labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Fairbanks AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along 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. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Fairbanks AK employers look for certification prior to 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 several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Fairbanks AK students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Fairbanks AK medical facilities, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alaska? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may 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 working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able 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 typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive 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 phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. 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 online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Fairbanks AK hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Fairbanks AK healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide 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 program has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Fairbanks Alaska
Making sure that you pick the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a variety of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairbanks AK.