How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Fairfield Alabama
Picking the right phlebotomy technician school near Fairfield AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Fairfield AL labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested properly utilizing the strictest 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 quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Fairfield AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Fairfield AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To start 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 carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical option for many Fairfield AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you 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 chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Fairfield AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online college. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Fairfield AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any 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 placement program. You can research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to several Fairfield AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact 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 Included? First, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Fairfield AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high 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 Fairfield AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairfield AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who selects this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Fairfield AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around nervous people who hate needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be expected to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Best Fairfield Phlebotomy School
Making sure that you enroll in the right phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare career position. 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 can be available in a number of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairfield Alabama.