How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Anchorage Alaska
Picking the ideal phlebotomy school near Anchorage AK is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Anchorage AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, many Anchorage AK employers look for certification before hiring 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 several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part 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. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Anchorage 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 commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, 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 degree or a certificate. 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. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. 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 ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Anchorage AK medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job 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 percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?
Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Anchorage AK medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work with anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right profession for you.
Choose the Best Anchorage Phlebotomist Course
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage Alaska.