How to Find the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Auburn AL
Choosing the right phlebotomist training near Auburn AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed 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 tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Auburn AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, such as Auburn AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest 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 provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, most Auburn AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the main 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes 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 dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Auburn AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Auburn AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Auburn AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Auburn AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Auburn AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Auburn AL medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Auburn AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Auburn Alabama
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Auburn AL.