How to Pick the Best Phlebotomist Training Course near Unalaska Alaska
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician school near Unalaska AK is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Unalaska AK labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Unalaska AK medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means 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. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Unalaska AK employers require certification before 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for many Unalaska AK students. As an added benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Courses
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected 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 significant if you will be commuting from Unalaska AK as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking 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 all of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Unalaska AK job market.
What is the School'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 caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of all 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 screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Unalaska AK clinics or hospitals that you may 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 find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact the Alaska state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Unalaska AK medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Unalaska AK health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Unalaska AK, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Unalaska AK medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists tend to work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right profession for you.
Pick the Right Unalaska Phlebotomy Program
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school before making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Unalaska Alaska.