How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Auburn AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy school near Auburn AL is an important first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you might 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 keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select 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 schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Auburn AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Auburn AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular 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 working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, most Auburn AL employers require certification before hiring 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical option for some Auburn AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Subjects 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 kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Auburn AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Auburn AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Auburn AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Auburn AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage 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 a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Auburn AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to 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, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training near Auburn Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in 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 multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a wide range of educational institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to carefully research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Auburn AL.