Phlebotomist Training Classes
How to Find the Right One Near Anchorage Alaska
A critical first step you must take to enter the rewarding healthcare profession of phlebotomy is to choose the best phlebotomy school near Anchorage AK. There are numerous training options that are offered in your area and it can seem like a daunting undertaking to research and analyze each one. However, to ensure that you will get a first-rate education you must perform your due diligence before making your selection. More often than not the two qualifications that initially are considered by student applicants are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. And if you will commute to classes or participate online is another consideration as well. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. So when evaluating phlebotomist training programs, location and cost must not be the sole parameters you are looking at. Finding out if the program is accredited or if the school has a job placement program must also be included in your due diligence process. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Anchorage AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
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 typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Anchorage AK employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the program of studies 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 completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Certificate or Degree Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind 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 Anchorage AK as well as the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also check with several Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish 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 adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Anchorage AK health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate college you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Anchorage Phlebotomist Training
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each school prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage Alaska.