How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Course near Opelika Alabama
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomist school near Opelika AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, most potential students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may look into 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 keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Opelika AL labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, including Opelika AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Opelika AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few 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 phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To begin with, let's resolve one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for many Opelika AL students. As an added benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Opelika AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are reviewing before making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to 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 choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting organization, for example 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 administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Opelika AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Opelika AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Enough Training Included? First, check with the Alabama state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Opelika AL medical community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Opelika AL medical community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Opelika AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend 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 should you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?
Anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Opelika AL medical environments, well this profession may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs tend to work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, 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 compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.
Choose the Right Opelika Phlebotomist School
Making certain that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings can differ somewhat 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 screen and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Opelika Alabama.