How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist School near Phenix City AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Phenix City AL is an essential initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to assess and compare all of the school options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, most students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating 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 conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal function, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Phenix City AL labs and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Phenix City AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Phenix City AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for 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 choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Schools
First, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the curriculum will be practical 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. However since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many Phenix City AL students. As an additional benefit, some online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be OK around needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Phenix City AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs often work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this may be the right profession for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already decided on 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 school is significant if you will be commuting from Phenix City AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Phenix City AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Phenix City AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Phenix City AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Phenix City AL health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final school you select offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Phenix City AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training near Phenix City Alabama
Making sure that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are found in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Phenix City AL.