How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Fairbanks Alaska
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Fairbanks AK is a critical first step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local 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 locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Fairbanks AK labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Fairbanks AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Fairbanks AK employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the primary certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for many Fairbanks AK students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make certain 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 clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Courses
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alaska? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all 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 research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Fairbanks AK clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, check with the Alaska state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Fairbanks AK healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, 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 healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And 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 need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Fairbanks AK medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with nervous people who don’t like 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, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
Pick the Best Fairbanks Phlebotomist School
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Fairbanks Alaska.