A Phlebotomy Career in Alaska
Phlebotomists work primarily in hospitals, doctor’s offices and blood donation centers, drawing blood and collecting and labeling samples for diagnostic testing. Phlebotomists are at the forefront of nearly every patient interaction with the laboratory team. As frontline laboratory professionals, phlebotomists are responsible for more than just blood draws. They will also need to instruct patients on the collection of other bodily fluids such as urine, stool and sputum, and receive and label collected specimens.
Since patients are often dealing with various types of medical problems, the phlebotomist will need to be able to present a calming demeanor. Excellent communication and de-escalation skills are essential for those in the profession, as many patients will be anxious about the testing or the blood draw. Phlebotomists also frequently deal with fragile patients, who may pass out during a blood draw and need to know how to respond and when to call for help.
Phlebotomists will need to be knowledgeable about the particular circumstances for various types of collection, what kinds of tests can be collected at what time of day, and which specific blood draws need to be performed while fasting. The job requires significant physical stamina, especially for those in a hospital setting who will need to travel between patient wards while carrying or pushing a cart full of supplies. Manual dexterity is also a must, as the blood draw procedure can often be challenging to perform.
Alaskan Licensing Requirements for Phlebotomists
There is no requirement for licensure for phlebotomists in the state of Alaska, nor is there a statewide regulatory oversight committee. However, phlebotomists do have oversight in the workplace, as they always work under a licensed physician, often a pathologist, who serves as the laboratory’s medical director. Usually, a phlebotomist will be directly supervised by a medical technologist or a registered nurse depending on where they work.
Where to Train as a Phlebotomist in Alaska
Phlebotomy training can be obtained either on the job or through a certified training program. In either case, a high school diploma will be a required prerequisite. In Alaska, available training programs include:
- University of Alaska Anchorage offers an Occupational Endorsement Certificate in Phlebotomy. The program can be completed in two part-time semesters and is offered both on campus and online. For distance learning, students will need to arrange mentorship to complete the laboratory portion of the training.
- Alaska Career College provides Phlebotomy Technician training. Students will learn the basics of phlebotomy, including how to perform pediatric and neonatal blood draws, and how to handle special collections.
The leading accreditation organization for phlebotomists is the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). Although certification is not necessary for phlebotomists in Alaska, obtaining accreditation is a mark of your knowledge and professionalism. As such, it is worth serious consideration if you would like to accelerate your career.
Salary and Growth Projections for Alaskan Phlebotomists
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), Alaskan phlebotomists are among the highest paid in the nation. In fact, data collected by the organization from 2019 show an average annual salary of $42,100 in the state.
Job growth projections in the state are also positive, with an expected 7.7 percent growth between 2018 and 2028.
Working as a Phlebotomist in Alaska
Phlebotomists are needed anywhere healthcare services are offered, meaning employment will be easier to find in more densely populated areas of the state. Those in the field should expect to work early morning hours, weekends and holidays regularly.
A few possible employers in Alaska include Quest Diagnostics, Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium, LabCorp and Swedish Medical Center.