How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Ketchikan Alaska
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Ketchikan AK is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Ketchikan AK laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Ketchikan AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in most states, many Ketchikan AK employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying agencies 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 California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical option for many Ketchikan AK students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school 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 obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Ketchikan AK as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Ketchikan AK job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Ketchikan AK hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see 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 submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient 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 phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Ketchikan AK healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Ketchikan AK health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ketchikan AK, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Ketchikan AK medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Pick the Best Ketchikan Phlebotomist Program
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Ketchikan Alaska.