How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Fort Rucker Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Fort Rucker AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, most prospective students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may 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's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. 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 right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time 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 can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Fort Rucker AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?The easiest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Fort Rucker AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting blood from a particular type 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 practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along with 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, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, many Fort Rucker AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some 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 some states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
First, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it might be a more practical option for some Fort Rucker AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (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 disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already selected the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Fort Rucker AL as well as the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very 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 have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Fort Rucker AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. 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 internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Fort Rucker AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and ask if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? First, contact 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the programs you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Fort Rucker AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fort Rucker AL medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate school you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to college. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fort Rucker AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you have to miss any classes due to illness or emergencies.
Should You Train to Be a Plebotomist?
Anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Fort Rucker AL medical facilities, well this job probably is not the best choice for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomists often work around anxious people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you may be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Best Fort Rucker Phlebotomist Program
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a variety of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options can differ somewhat across the country as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly evaluate and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Fort Rucker Alabama.