How to Find the Best Phlebotomy School near Juneau AK
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Juneau AK is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local 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 comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Juneau AK laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Juneau AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers 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 new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along with 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, although 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 accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not mandated in most states, many Juneau AK employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for many Juneau AK students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Juneau AK as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alaska? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Juneau AK job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Juneau AK clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, 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 phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Juneau AK health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Juneau AK health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Juneau AK, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Juneau Alaska
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Juneau AK.