How to Select the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Oxford Alabama
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Oxford AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you get a quality education. In fact, most potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening procedure. 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. Some phlebotomists actually work in Oxford AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Practice?The quickest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Oxford AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with new patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in most states, most Oxford AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the principal 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Training
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted 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-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Oxford AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges
Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Oxford AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing before making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all examinations you may be required 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 school aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously 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 desirable to future employers in the Oxford AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also talk to some Oxford AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted 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 find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Oxford AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Oxford AL health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? Finally, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Oxford AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure 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 fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?
Anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Oxford AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Technicians tend to work around 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 will probably be expected to work weekends, nights 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 job for you.
Choose the Right Oxford Phlebotomy Program
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each school before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Oxford Alabama.