How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Course near Dothan AL
Picking the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Dothan AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most potential students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, 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 best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Dothan AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Dothan AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Dothan AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Dothan AL students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Dothan AL medical environments, well this job probably is not right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected 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 campus is significant if you will be commuting from Dothan AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Dothan AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact some Dothan AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Dothan AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Dothan AL medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to make sure that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Dothan AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Dothan Alabama
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully screen and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Dothan AL.