How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Soldotna Alaska
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Soldotna AK is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, most prospective students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Soldotna AK labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Soldotna AK medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education together with 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, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Soldotna AK employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To start with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for many Soldotna AK students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Soldotna AK as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in 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 have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school 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 earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Soldotna AK job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Soldotna AK hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, 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. At 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 clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Soldotna AK health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Soldotna AK healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Soldotna AK, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Soldotna AK medical facilities, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians often work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings 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 could be the perfect job for you.
Choose the Best Soldotna Phlebotomist School
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each school before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Soldotna Alaska.