How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Phenix City AL
Selecting the right phlebotomy technician training near Phenix City AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide 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 before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
Request Free information on Phlebotomy Training in Your Area
Phlebotomist Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, 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 confirm that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Phenix City AL labs and are responsible for making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Phenix City AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education together 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When 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 require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it might be a more convenient option for some Phenix City AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Phenix City AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional 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 quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently 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 College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Phenix City AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Phenix City AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Phenix City AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to verify that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to attend 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 on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even 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 as a result of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Phenix City Alabama
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can differ a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to diligently evaluate and compare each school prior to making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Phenix City AL.