How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Auburn AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Auburn AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In fact, most students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes 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. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Auburn AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Auburn AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. While not required in most states, most Auburn AL 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 phlebotomy tech, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium 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 begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be clinical 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 completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for some Auburn AL students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Auburn AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Auburn AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Auburn AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Auburn AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Auburn AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Auburn Alabama
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Auburn AL.