How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Fairbanks AK
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician training near Fairbanks AK is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, 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 best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Fairbanks AK laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Fairbanks AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Fairbanks AK employers look for certification prior to hiring 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 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 imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
First, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient option for some Fairbanks AK students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type 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 significant if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement 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 examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for 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 not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many 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 imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Fairbanks AK hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Fairbanks AK medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairbanks AK.