How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Phenix City AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy school near Phenix City AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting 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 sure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of students start their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Phenix City AL laboratories and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are numerous 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 all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Phenix City AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
First, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more convenient option for some Phenix City AL students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant 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 phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. 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 may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Phenix City AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In numerous 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 all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Phenix City AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample 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 phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on practical training typically not available 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 Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Phenix City AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true 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 available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Phenix City Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomist training programs can be available in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each college before making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Phenix City AL.