How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist School near Ketchikan Alaska
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Ketchikan AK is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Ketchikan AK laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Ketchikan AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Ketchikan AK employers require 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 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 enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To start with, let's dispel 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 on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Ketchikan AK students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Ketchikan AK as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills 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 phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. 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 Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact several Ketchikan AK hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a final 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 Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, check with the Alaska state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 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 comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Ketchikan AK health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Ketchikan AK healthcare community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Ketchikan AK, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Ketchikan AK medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Pick the Best Ketchikan Phlebotomy School
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Ketchikan Alaska.