How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Phenix City AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist school near Phenix City AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, most students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Phenix City AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Phenix City AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route 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 on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in most states, many Phenix City AL employers look for certification prior to employing 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
First, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Phenix City AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected 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 school is significant if you will be commuting from Phenix City AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification 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 prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Phenix City AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all colleges 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 research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Phenix City AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Phenix City AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide 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 a large network of professional contacts within the Phenix City AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to verify that the final program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Phenix City AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Phenix City Alabama
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in medical care and health sciences. Training program options may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each program before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Phenix City AL.