How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Palmer Alaska
Selecting the right phlebotomist training near Palmer AK is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal 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.
Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Palmer AK labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control 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 do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Palmer AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 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 furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, most Palmer AK employers look for certification before hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Palmer AK students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish 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 Palmer AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Palmer AK job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Palmer AK clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the Alaska state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Palmer AK medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Palmer AK medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the final program you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Palmer AK, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Palmer AK medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Pick the Right Palmer Phlebotomist Training
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each program before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Palmer Alaska.