How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Juneau AK
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school near Juneau AK is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose 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 training.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time 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 can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Juneau AK laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Juneau AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians 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 Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Juneau AK employers require certification prior to employing 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for many Juneau AK students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Juneau AK medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you intend 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 Juneau AK in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in 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 school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Juneau AK job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact some Juneau AK hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Juneau AK health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Juneau AK healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Juneau AK, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Juneau Alaska
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Juneau AK.