How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Fairbanks AK
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Fairbanks AK is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, most prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Fairbanks AK laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Fairbanks AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Fairbanks AK employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main 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 phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient option for many Fairbanks AK students. As an added benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?Right out of the gate, few people probably 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 naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Fairbanks AK medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alaska? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick 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 benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Fairbanks AK clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length 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 (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Fairbanks AK healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. 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 find out what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairbanks AK.