How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy School near Juneau AK
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Juneau AK is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many potential students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best 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.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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 making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are many and diverse, including Juneau AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a general education as well as 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Juneau AK employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the key 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Juneau AK students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. 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 comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected 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 important if you will be commuting from Juneau AK as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Juneau AK job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? 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 along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Juneau 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 complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Juneau AK healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out 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 most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Juneau AK healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Juneau AK, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Juneau Alaska
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully research and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Juneau AK.