How to Choose the Best One Near Anchorage Alaska
A critical first step one must take to enter the rewarding medical vocation of phlebotomy is to choose the right phlebotomy school near Anchorage AK. There are a number of training programs that are offered in your area and it may seem like an intimidating task to investigate and compare each one. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, most potential students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Whether you will commute to classes or participate online is an option you need to consider as well. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Researching if the program is accredited or if the school has a job placement program should also be included in your evaluation process. 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 right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?
Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. The short answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Anchorage AK medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may 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 interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right job for you.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. 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 offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Anchorage AK employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying organizations 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more practical option for many Anchorage AK students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Training Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Anchorage AK as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with 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 school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating 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 phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Anchorage AK health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer 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 college has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Anchorage AK, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Anchorage Phlebotomy Training Program
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage Alaska.