How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Nikiski Alaska
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy school near Nikiski AK is an essential initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Nikiski AK laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Nikiski AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides 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 specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not required in most states, many Nikiski AK employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying organizations 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, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To start with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Nikiski AK students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen 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 campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Nikiski AK as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification 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 be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Nikiski AK job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Nikiski AK hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, check with the Alaska state regulator where you will be practicing 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 considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Nikiski AK healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Nikiski AK health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Nikiski AK, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Nikiski AK medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Right Nikiski Phlebotomy School
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ slightly 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 must thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Nikiski Alaska.