How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy School near Fairbanks AK
Selecting the right phlebotomy training near Fairbanks AK is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In reality, many potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation 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 reviewing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility 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 certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Fairbanks AK medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, 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 an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in most states, a number of Fairbanks AK employers require 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient option for some Fairbanks AK students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you select 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 premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Fairbanks AK medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, 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 a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Fairbanks AK clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. 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 full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At 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 below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Fairbanks AK medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical 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 as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairbanks AK.