How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Auburn AL
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Auburn AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to assess and compare all of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, many potential 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 consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Auburn AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Auburn AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Auburn AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out 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-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical option for many Auburn AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on 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 significant if you will be commuting from Auburn AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed 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 select a phlebotomist program that fulfills 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 Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Auburn AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Auburn AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local health care facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Auburn AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Auburn AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training near Auburn Alabama
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Auburn AL.