How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Anchorage Alaska
Selecting the right phlebotomist school near Anchorage AK is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, many potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Anchorage AK labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Anchorage AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from elderly 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 setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Anchorage AK employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the key certifying agencies 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Anchorage AK students. As an added benefit, some online schools are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind 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 Anchorage AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several 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 Alaska? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior 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 organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, contact the Alaska 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 considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Anchorage AK health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study 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 should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Anchorage AK medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Best Anchorage Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage Alaska.