How to Pick the Best One Near Anchorage Alaska
Picking the right phlebotomy school near Anchorage AK is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However, to ensure that you will get a quality education you must complete a detailed audit before making your decision. In fact, a large number of potential students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. So when assessing phlebotomist training programs, cost and location shouldn’t be the only parameters you are looking at. Researching if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program must also be part of your due diligence process. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose 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 training.
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Should You Choose a Career as a Plebotomist?
Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. The short answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Anchorage AK medical environments, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right profession for you.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Anchorage AK employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like 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 superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for many Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable 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 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 take a certification exam administered 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 colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also check with a few Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Anchorage AK healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final school you select provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain 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 due to illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Anchorage Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anchorage Alaska.