How to Select the Best Phlebotomist School near Farmers Loop Alaska
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Farmers Loop AK is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes 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 far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports 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. Many phlebotomists actually work in Farmers Loop AK laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, including Farmers Loop 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 infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those working 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 drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Farmers Loop AK employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the main 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for many Farmers Loop AK students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind 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 Farmers Loop AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills 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 pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example 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. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Farmers Loop AK job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start 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 also. You can even contact a few Farmers Loop AK hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, check with the Alaska state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Farmers Loop AK health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Farmers Loop AK healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Farmers Loop AK, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Farmers Loop AK medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right job for you.
Choose the Right Farmers Loop Phlebotomy School
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a wide range of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may differ somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Farmers Loop Alaska.