How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Anchorage Alaska
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Anchorage AK is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In fact, many students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Anchorage AK medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Anchorage AK employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for some Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical part 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 each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alaska? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. 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 working and prepares you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, check with the Alaska state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Anchorage AK healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify 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 need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Anchorage AK medical facilities, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Best Anchorage Phlebotomy School
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. 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 are available in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anchorage Alaska.