How to Find the Right One Near Fairbanks Alaska
An important first step you must take to enter the rewarding healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to choose the best phlebotomy school near Fairbanks AK. There are a number of training options that are offered in your area and it can seem like an intimidating undertaking to research and analyze each one. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, many prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. And if you will commute to classes or participate online is an option you need to consider as well. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. So when evaluating phlebotomist training programs, location and cost must not be the sole criteria you are looking at. Finding out if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program should also be included in your due diligence process. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Right out of the gate, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. The basic answer is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Fairbanks AK medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education together 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 phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Fairbanks AK employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key 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, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical option for some Fairbanks AK students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type 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 significant if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to choose 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 be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected 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 program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous 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 essential to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Fairbanks AK clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough 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 clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Fairbanks AK healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning 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 Fairbanks AK health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Fairbanks Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each program prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Fairbanks Alaska.