How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Fairbanks AK
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Fairbanks AK is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, many potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including 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 need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to 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 needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Fairbanks AK laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Fairbanks AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. 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 usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Fairbanks AK employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the key 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for many Fairbanks AK students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Fairbanks AK hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, 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 phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Fairbanks AK healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide 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 a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairbanks AK.