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Become a Phlebotomist in Fairbanks Alaska

How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Fairbanks AK

Fairbanks AK phlebotomist drawing bloodPicking the right phlebotomy technician training near Fairbanks AK is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, many potential students start the process by looking at two 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 an area campus. We'll talk 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 cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary

Fairbanks AK phlebotomy laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Fairbanks AK labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Fairbanks AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification

blood analysis performed in Fairbanks AK labThere are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Fairbanks AK employers look for certification before hiring 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees

Fairbanks AK student attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Fairbanks AK students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure 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 obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized 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 school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. 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 Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references 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 also. You can also contact some Fairbanks AK hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total 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 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 lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Fairbanks AK healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK health care community.

Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, check that they are offered 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 study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.

Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska

Fairbanks AK phlebotomist lab blood analysisMaking certain that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Fairbanks AK.