How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist School near Big Lake Alaska
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Big Lake AK is an essential first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, most students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Big Lake AK laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Big Lake AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally 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 include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Big Lake AK employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the primary 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Big Lake AK students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected 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 school is important if you will be commuting from Big Lake AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, 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 amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification 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 have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as 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 superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Big Lake AK job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Big Lake AK hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, contact the Alaska state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Big Lake AK health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Big Lake AK medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Big Lake AK, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And 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 policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Big Lake AK medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical 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 can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Choose the Best Big Lake Phlebotomist Program
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary slightly across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Big Lake Alaska.