How to Pick the Right Phlebotomist School near Nikiski Alaska
Picking the ideal phlebotomy training near Nikiski AK is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot 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 should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should 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 conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Nikiski AK laboratories and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Nikiski AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Nikiski AK employers require certification before employing 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component 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. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many Nikiski AK students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, 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 to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate 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 college is relevant if you will be commuting from Nikiski AK in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example 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 quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Nikiski AK job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative 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 graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Nikiski AK clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the Alaska state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide 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 expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Nikiski AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing 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 high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, 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 medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to verify that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Nikiski AK, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study 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 in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Nikiski AK medical environments, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Best Nikiski Phlebotomist Training
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites 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 choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Nikiski Alaska.