How to Select the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Dothan Alabama
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Dothan AL is an essential first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their principal responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Dothan AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, including Dothan AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing blood from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Dothan AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical option for some Dothan AL students. As an added benefit, many online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already selected the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Dothan AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination administered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Dothan AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with several Dothan AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Provided? 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 amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Dothan AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Dothan AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to continue working while attending school. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Dothan AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. 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 find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Dothan AL medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right job for you.
Pick the Right Dothan Phlebotomist Program
Making sure that you choose 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 a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs can be available in a number of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range 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 pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Dothan Alabama.