How to Select the Right Phlebotomy School near Dothan AL
Picking the right phlebotomy training near Dothan AL is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. 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 pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. 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 Dothan AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Dothan AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, many Dothan AL employers look for certification prior to 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Classes
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for many Dothan AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Dothan AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each 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 very important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Dothan AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Dothan AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working 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 considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Dothan AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Dothan AL health care community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to make sure that the ultimate program you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dothan AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Dothan Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Dothan AL.