How to Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Opelika Alabama
Selecting the right phlebotomy school near Opelika AL is a critical initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to investigate and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online schools 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 variables including reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.
Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs 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 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 in fact work in Opelika AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?The most basic response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Opelika AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, many Opelika AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. A few 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 some states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for many Opelika AL students. As an added benefit, some online schools are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal option for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Opelika AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your final selection.
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 require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Opelika AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with several Opelika AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Included? To begin with, check with 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 looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Opelika AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Available? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Opelika AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Opelika AL, check that they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Technician?
Anyone who chooses this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Opelika AL medical facilities, well this job may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work with nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, nights and 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 may be the perfect job for you.
Pick the Best Opelika Phlebotomy Program
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs are offered in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Opelika Alabama.