How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy School near Juneau AK
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician training near Juneau AK is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out 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 in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Juneau AK laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Juneau AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Juneau AK employers require certification prior to employing 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial 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. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for some Juneau AK students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Juneau AK medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Juneau AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective 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 colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges 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 screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Juneau AK clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough 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 amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Juneau AK healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Juneau AK health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Juneau AK, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Juneau Alaska
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Juneau AK.