How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Dothan AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Dothan AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review 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 locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately 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 an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Dothan AL labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Dothan AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Dothan AL employers look for certification before employing 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as 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 superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component of the course of study 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-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for many Dothan AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on 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 campus is significant if you will be commuting from Dothan AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are often not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Dothan AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many 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 essential to check the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. 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 ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Dothan AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide 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 total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 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 expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Dothan AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Dothan AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic schedule. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Dothan AL, make sure 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 clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled 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 Right Phlebotomy Training near Dothan Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs can be found in a number of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Dothan AL.