How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Classes near Phenix City AL
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near Phenix City AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, most prospective students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating 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 as well. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Phenix City AL labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, such as Phenix City AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working 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 newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training to become a phlebotomist. Available 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 provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Phenix City AL employers require certification before employing technicians. A few 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 several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Colleges
To begin with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient option for many Phenix City AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Phenix City AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, 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 quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Phenix City AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can even talk to several Phenix City AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and see if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Enough 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Phenix City AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high 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 Phenix City AL medical community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Phenix City AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, 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 completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training near Phenix City Alabama
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each school before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Phenix City AL.