Selecting a Phlebotomy Technician School near Anchorage Alaska
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Anchorage AK is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it’s necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We’ll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What’s important to remember is that there is far more to researching phlebotomist training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to 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 phlebotomist 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 resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient’s information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports 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 actually work in Anchorage AK area labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren’t enough responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Anchorage AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it’s not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at Anchorage AK community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Anchorage AK employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it’s important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a quality education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Classes
To start with, let’s resolve one possible misconception. You can’t get all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. 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 might be a more convenient option for many Anchorage AK students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it’s time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected 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 college is relevant as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an phlebotomy online college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the Anchorage AK schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it’s extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies 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 College 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 many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school 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 essential to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. 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 research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Anchorage AK clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the Anchorage AK training program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with Anchorage AK medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Anchorage healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it’s an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it’s important to confirm that the final college you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Considering Phlebotomy Training near Anchorage AK?
Anchorage (officially called the Municipality of Anchorage; Dena'ina: Dgheyaytnu) is a unified home rule municipality in the U.S. state of Alaska. With an estimated 298,192 residents in 2016, it is Alaska's most populous city and contains more than 40 percent of the state's total population; among the 50 states, only New York has a higher percentage of residents who live in its most populous city. All together, the Anchorage metropolitan area, which combines Anchorage with the neighboring Matanuska-Susitna Borough, had a population of 401,635 in 2016, which accounts for more than half of the state's population. At 1,706 square miles of land area, the city is larger than the smallest state, Rhode Island, at 1,212 square miles.
Anchorage is in the south-central portion of Alaska, at the terminus of the Cook Inlet, on a peninsula formed by the Knik Arm to the north and the Turnagain Arm to the south. The city limits span 1,961.1 square miles (5,079.2 km2) which encompass the urban core, a joint military base, several outlying communities and almost all of Chugach State Park.
Due to its location, almost equidistant from New York City, Frankfurt, and Tokyo, Anchorage lies within 9 1⁄2 hours by air of nearly 90% of the industrialized world. For this reason, the Anchorage International Airport is a common refueling stop for many international cargo flights and home to a major FedEx hub, which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services.
Anchorage has won the All-America City Award four times: in 1956, 1965, 1984–85, and 2002, by the National Civic League. It has also been named by Kiplinger as the most tax-friendly city in the United States.
Find the Best Phlebotomist Course near Anchorage AK
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each program before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Anchorage AK.
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A handful of states require certification as well, which generally entails not only completing an accredited program from a phlebotomy school, but also gaining some clinical experience (e.g., externship), and then taking a certification exam involving a written portion and a practical component to demonstrate efficacy at drawing blood.