How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Homer Alaska
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician school near Homer AK is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, most students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes 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 including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Homer AK labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Homer AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Homer AK employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the key 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 phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part 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. Many 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 alternative for some Homer AK students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Homer AK as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, 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 superior 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. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Homer AK job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Homer AK clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the Alaska state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Homer AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Homer AK healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Homer AK, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Homer AK medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists tend to 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, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.
Choose the Right Homer Phlebotomy Program
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a variety of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each program before 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 pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Homer Alaska.