How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy School near Auburn AL
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Auburn AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many potential students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Auburn AL labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Auburn AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Auburn AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
To start with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Auburn AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Auburn AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Auburn AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Auburn AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Auburn AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Auburn AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Auburn AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training near Auburn Alabama
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be available in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Auburn AL.