How to Find the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Fairbanks AK
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Fairbanks AK is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, most potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. 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 pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Fairbanks AK laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance 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 are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Fairbanks AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers 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 to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Fairbanks AK employers look for certification before employing 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 a few states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for many Fairbanks AK students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Fairbanks AK medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required 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 right job for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable 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 in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, 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 begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to 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 closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical 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 looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Fairbanks AK healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer 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 school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Fairbanks AK.