How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Dutch Harbor Alaska
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Dutch Harbor AK is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain 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. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk 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 locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Dutch Harbor AK laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Dutch Harbor AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Dutch Harbor AK employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 call for 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 pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for some Dutch Harbor AK students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming 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 degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Dutch Harbor AK as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alaska? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Dutch Harbor AK job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. 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 rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Dutch Harbor AK clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the Alaska state regulator where you will be working to learn 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 practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Dutch Harbor AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Dutch Harbor AK health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dutch Harbor AK, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Dutch Harbor AK medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Best Dutch Harbor Phlebotomy Program
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a variety of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Dutch Harbor Alaska.