Picking a Phlebotomy School near Anchorage Alaska
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Anchorage AK is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it’s important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, many students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. 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 locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process too. 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 pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let’s address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient’s information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many Anchorage AK phlebotomists in fact work in labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren’t sufficient duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Anchorage AK hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns 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 new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training in Anchorage AK, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor’s Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, a number of employers look for certification before 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 phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it’s important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Training
To begin with, let’s resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can’t get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved Anchorage AK healthcare facility or an on-campus lab|an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility}. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (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 study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it’s time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the Alaska college is important in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an online phlebotomy school. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the Anchorage AK programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alaska? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it’s extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alaska or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs in Anchorage AK. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the job market.
What is the Program’s Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it’s imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with several Anchorage AK area hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alaska school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact the Alaska regulator or 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. At a minimum, any Anchorage AK phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the Alaska programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Anchorage AK healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it’s an indication that the program has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Anchorage AK medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it’s critical to verify that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Anchorage AK, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Why Did You Choose to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?When getting ready to interview for a Phlebotomy Tech job, it's a good idea to consider questions you may be asked. One of the questions that interviewers frequently ask Phlebotomy Technician prospects is "What drove you to choose Phlebotomy as a profession?". What the interviewer is attempting to discover is not just the private reasons you may have for becoming Phlebotomy Tech, but also what characteristics and talents you have that make you good at what you do. You will likely be asked questions relating primarily to Phlebotomy, in addition to a significant number of standard interview questions, so you need to organize several approaches about how you would like to address them. Because there are so many factors that go into choosing a career, you can answer this primary question in a variety of ways. When formulating an answer, aim to include the reasons the work interests you as well as the abilities you have that make you an exceptional Phlebotomy Technician and the leading choice for the position. Don't attempt to memorize an answer, but take down several concepts and talking points that pertain to your personal strengths and experiences. Reviewing sample answers can assist you to formulate your own thoughts, and inspire ideas of what to discuss to enthuse the recruiter.
Select the Right Phlebotomy Program near Anchorage AK
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each school before making your final selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Anchorage AK.
Learn About Anchorage Alaska
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.
Anchorage is located 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 is home to a major FedEx hub, which the company calls a "critical part" of its global network of services.
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