How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician School near Dothan Alabama
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Dothan AL is an important initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to investigate and compare all of the school options that are available to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In fact, most prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomist Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be properly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Dothan AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Dothan AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish 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, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Dothan AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. A few of the main 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the course of study will be clinical 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 completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Dothan AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). 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 learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Courses
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Dothan AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online college. All of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. 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 working and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Dothan AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, 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 looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Dothan AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the Alabama 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 considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Dothan AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Dothan AL health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dothan AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. 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 protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Dothan AL medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having their blood taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
Choose the Right Dothan Phlebotomist Program
Making sure that you select the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Dothan Alabama.