How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Dothan AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Dothan AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, many potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers 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. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Dothan AL laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Dothan AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to complete and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, most Dothan AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the primary 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 California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical alternative for many Dothan AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may 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 college is relevant if you will be commuting from Dothan AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium 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 getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, 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 College's Ranking? In numerous 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 imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with a few Dothan AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the optimal means to get hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Dothan AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, 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 Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you decide to still work while going to college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dothan AL, make sure they are available 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 sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Dothan Alabama
Making certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of educational institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Dothan AL.