How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician School near Fairfield Alabama
Choosing the right phlebotomist school near Fairfield AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss 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 factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online classes.
Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Fairfield AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they might be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Fairfield AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Fairfield AL employers look for certification prior to 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical part of the training can be attended online, it may be a more practical option for some Fairfield AL students. As an added benefit, many online programs are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy 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 may have already decided on the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Fairfield AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements 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 practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a recognized national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Last, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Fairfield AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all 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 screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Fairfield AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest 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 filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, 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 classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Fairfield AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out 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 most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Fairfield AL medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's important to make sure that the ultimate college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Fairfield AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Fairfield AL medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work with anxious people who hate needles or having their blood taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Pick the Best Fairfield Phlebotomy School
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can vary a bit across the country as every state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must diligently research and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fairfield Alabama.