How to Choose the Right One Near Fairbanks Alaska
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Fairbanks AK is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Notwithstanding, to ensure that you will get a first-rate education you must complete your due diligence before making your decision. Quite often the two qualifications that initially come to mind for student applicants are where the school is located and how much the tuition is. And if you will commute to classes or attend them online is another consideration as well. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Fairbanks AK hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background 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 Fairbanks 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component 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 completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical option for many Fairbanks AK students. As an added benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alaska? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, 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 securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place 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 also talk to some Fairbanks AK clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances 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 practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Fairbanks AK healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools 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 school has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, 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 ask what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Fairbanks Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs can be found in a wide range of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each program prior to making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairbanks Alaska.