How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Big Lake Alaska
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Big Lake AK is an important first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, many students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Big Lake AK labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Big Lake AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Big Lake AK employers require certification before 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Big Lake AK students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Big Lake AK in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Big Lake AK job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Big Lake AK clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the Alaska state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. 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 less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Big Lake AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good 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 important to confirm that the ultimate program you select 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 can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Big Lake AK, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Big Lake AK medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected 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 right profession for you.
Pick the Right Big Lake Phlebotomist Program
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Big Lake Alaska.