How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Juneau Alaska
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician training near Juneau AK is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision 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 evaluating to help you select the ideal 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.
Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Juneau AK labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, including Juneau AK medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, most Juneau AK employers look for certification before employing 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
First, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist 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. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for many Juneau AK students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Juneau AK in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College 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 several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Juneau AK job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact several Juneau AK clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can offer 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 schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with the Alaska state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Juneau AK healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Juneau AK medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Juneau AK, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Juneau AK medical environments, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Best Juneau Phlebotomist School
Making sure that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Juneau Alaska.