How to Enroll in the Best One Near Anchorage Alaska
Picking the ideal phlebotomist school near Anchorage AK is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. There are numerous training options that are offered in your area and it can seem like an intimidating task to investigate and compare each one. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. Quite often the two requirements that first are considered by prospective students are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. Whether you will drive to classes or participate online is another consideration as well. Online courses will be covered in more detail a bit later. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Anchorage AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only 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 setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in most states, a number of Anchorage AK employers look for certification prior to 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part 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 part 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 classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alaska? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Anchorage AK job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Anchorage AK hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest 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 ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Anchorage AK medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning 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 Anchorage AK healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final college you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Anchorage Phlebotomy Training Program
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program options can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anchorage Alaska.