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Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alaska? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact a few Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the Alaska state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority 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 Provided? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Anchorage AK health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.