How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Tech School near Phenix City AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Phenix City AL is an important first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a superior education. In fact, most potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab 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 responsible for making sure that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, including Phenix City AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Phenix City AL employers look for certification prior to 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical component of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Phenix City AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Phenix City AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the perfect profession for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already selected 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 college is important if you will be commuting from Phenix City AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy 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 have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from 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 previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating 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 little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are considering. 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 research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Phenix City AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing 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 Ample Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide 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 provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Phenix City AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with 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 crucial to verify that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night 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 as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Phenix City Alabama
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently evaluate and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Phenix City AL.