How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Choosing the right phlebotomy training near Fairbanks AK is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, most potential students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision 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 assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly 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 screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Fairbanks AK labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Fairbanks AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, 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 drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest 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 provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Fairbanks AK employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the primary certifying organizations 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 phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Fairbanks AK students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alaska? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose 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 school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Fairbanks 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 quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. 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 reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Fairbanks AK hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see 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 colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, contact 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 phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Fairbanks AK health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Fairbanks AK medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with nervous 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 expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Pick the Right Fairbanks Phlebotomist Program
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairbanks Alaska.