How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Fairbanks AK
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist training near Fairbanks AK is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most potential students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point 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 tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Fairbanks AK laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Fairbanks AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Fairbanks AK employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Fairbanks AK students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Fairbanks AK medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind 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 decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable regional or national 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 has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree 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 phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with a few Fairbanks AK clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Fairbanks AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to verify that the final college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, 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 ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Fairbanks AK.