How to Pick the Right One Near Fairbanks Alaska
Picking the ideal phlebotomist training near Fairbanks AK is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. There are numerous training options that are offered in your area and it can seem like a daunting task to research and analyze each one. Notwithstanding, to guarantee that you will get a quality education you must perform a detailed audit before making your decision. Quite often the two requirements that first come to mind for prospective students are where the school is located and how much the tuition is. And if you will drive to classes or participate online is another consideration as well. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much 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 must also be part of your due diligence process. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Fairbanks AK laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Fairbanks AK employers require certification prior to employing 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Fairbanks AK students. As an added benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Certificate or Degree Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind 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 important if you will be commuting from Fairbanks AK as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, 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 agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Fairbanks AK job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with a few Fairbanks AK hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide 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 Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Fairbanks AK healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Fairbanks AK medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Fairbanks AK, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Fairbanks Phlebotomy Training Program
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each college before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Fairbanks Alaska.