How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Fairbanks AK
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Fairbanks AK is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another 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 keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers 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 laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Fairbanks AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic 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, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Fairbanks AK employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the primary 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, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical option for many Fairbanks AK students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist 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 able to handle blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Fairbanks AK medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and 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 perfect profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked 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 college is significant if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All 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. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available 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 School's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact some Fairbanks AK hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges 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 frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Fairbanks AK healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend 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 should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Fairbanks Alaska
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each college before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Fairbanks AK.