How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomist School near Meadow Lakes Alaska
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist training near Meadow Lakes AK is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, most potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should 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 assessing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Meadow Lakes AK labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Meadow Lakes AK medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and offers 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 phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, a number of Meadow Lakes AK employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed 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-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Meadow Lakes AK students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Meadow Lakes AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Meadow Lakes AK job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal 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 out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Meadow Lakes AK hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the Alaska state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Meadow Lakes AK healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Meadow Lakes AK medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Meadow Lakes AK, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Meadow Lakes AK medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists often work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Right Meadow Lakes Phlebotomy Course
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Meadow Lakes Alaska.