How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Phenix City AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Phenix City AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In reality, many potential students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Phenix City AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Phenix City AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, many Phenix City AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the principal 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, 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 offers a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Phenix City AL students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Phenix City AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are looking at 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 some others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing 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 all examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Phenix City AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with a few Phenix City 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 ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Phenix City AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Phenix City AL medical community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Phenix City AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Phenix City Alabama
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a wide range of academic institutes, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options may vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each school prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Phenix City AL.