How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist School near Juneau AK
Choosing the ideal phlebotomist training near Juneau AK is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most potential students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area 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 much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing 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 resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Juneau AK laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Juneau AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as 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 specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Juneau AK employers look for certification before 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative 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 are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for many Juneau AK students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive 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 may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
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 picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Juneau AK as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure 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 should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school 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 advantages 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 take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Juneau AK job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact 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 contact 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 working 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 no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided 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? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Juneau AK healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to college. 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. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist Training near Juneau Alaska
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Juneau AK.