How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Fort Rucker Alabama
Choosing the right phlebotomy school near Fort Rucker AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, most prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should 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 afterwards continue our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample has to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Fort Rucker AL laboratories and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The easiest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Fort Rucker AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and provides a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. Although not required in most states, many Fort Rucker AL employers look for certification prior to employing 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical part of the training can be attended online, it can be a more convenient alternative for many Fort Rucker AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online may be the right option for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is significant if you will be commuting from Fort Rucker AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others mandate 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 might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting organization, for example 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 premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Fort Rucker AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all colleges you are considering. You can begin by requesting references from the schools 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 also. You can also talk to a few Fort Rucker AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? To begin with, contact the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should provide 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 expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Fort Rucker AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation together with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fort Rucker AL health care community.
Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's important to confirm that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fort Rucker AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Fort Rucker AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work with anxious 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, evenings 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 perfect job for you.
Choose the Right Fort Rucker Phlebotomist Training
Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a variety of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary somewhat across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to diligently research and compare each college prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomy program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Fort Rucker Alabama.