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How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy School near Auburn Alabama

Auburn Alabama phlebotomist drawing blood from patient's armChoosing the ideal phlebotomist school near Auburn AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, many potential students start the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional factor you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you choose the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.

Phlebotomist Work Description

Auburn Alabama phlebotomist examining blood samplesA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Auburn AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?

The easiest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and varied, including Auburn AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing

Auburn Alabama phlebotomist testing a blood sampleThere are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Auburn AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies 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 phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees

blood sample in test tube Auburn AlabamaFirst, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for many Auburn AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Programs

Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 school is relevant if you will be commuting from Auburn AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Auburn AL job market.

What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. 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 rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Auburn AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As 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 may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.

Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Auburn AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are looking at 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 program has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Auburn AL health care community.

Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final college you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you decide to still work while going to school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Auburn AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

Find Out More About Auburn Phlebotomist Programs

Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?

Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Auburn AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably 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 helping people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right profession for you.

Pick the Best Auburn Phlebotomy Training

Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are found in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Auburn Alabama.


 

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