How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Classes near Dothan AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Dothan AL is an important first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of prospective students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind 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 should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should 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 continue our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Dothan AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Dothan AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education along with 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, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Dothan AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 a few states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient option for many Dothan AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain 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.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the short definition is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Dothan AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Dothan AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the programs you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Dothan AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Dothan AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Dothan AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Dothan AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Dothan AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Dothan Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school 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 select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Dothan AL.