How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy School near Eagle River Alaska
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy training near Eagle River AK is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide 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 prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately 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 can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Eagle River AK laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Eagle River AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home 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 solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Eagle River AK employers look for certification prior to hiring 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 some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Eagle River AK students. As an added benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy college 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 receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Eagle River AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Eagle River AK job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Eagle River AK hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? 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 considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Eagle River AK medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning 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 Eagle River AK medical community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final college you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Eagle River AK, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Eagle River AK medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, 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 interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Best Eagle River Phlebotomist Training
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings may differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Eagle River Alaska.