How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Sitka Alaska
Selecting the right phlebotomist training near Sitka AK is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most students begin the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Sitka AK laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Sitka AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, 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 solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, many Sitka AK employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Sitka AK students. As an added benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Sitka AK as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alaska? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a respected 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 aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Sitka AK job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of all 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 online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact several Sitka AK clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, contact the Alaska state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount 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 (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges 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 frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Sitka AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Sitka AK medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Sitka AK, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even 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 procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Sitka AK medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, 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 right profession for you.
Pick the Best Sitka Phlebotomist Program
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each college before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Sitka Alaska.