How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Meadow Lakes Alaska
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy training near Meadow Lakes AK is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Meadow Lakes AK laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Meadow Lakes AK medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education as well as 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 phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Meadow Lakes AK employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it could be a more practical option for many Meadow Lakes AK students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Meadow Lakes AK in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Meadow Lakes AK job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates 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 even talk to some Meadow Lakes AK clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Meadow Lakes AK medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Meadow Lakes AK health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Meadow Lakes AK, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Meadow Lakes AK medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical 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 helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Right Meadow Lakes Phlebotomist School
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a number of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Meadow Lakes Alaska.