How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Fairbanks Alaska
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Fairbanks AK is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to 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 continue our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to 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 may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Fairbanks AK labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to train 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 Fairbanks AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as 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 phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, a number of Fairbanks AK employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Fairbanks AK students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you choose 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 disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. 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 working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee 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 organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even contact some Fairbanks AK hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the Alaska state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Fairbanks AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the final school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Fairbanks AK medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably 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 patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Best Fairbanks Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairbanks Alaska.