How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Auburn AL
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Auburn AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, many potential students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Auburn AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, including Auburn AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Auburn AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the principal certifying organizations include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical option for some Auburn AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced 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 later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Now that you have a basic 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 kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. 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. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future 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 quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also contact several Auburn AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Auburn AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot 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 school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Auburn AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to confirm that the final college you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, make sure it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Auburn Alabama
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Auburn AL.