Phlebotomist Training Classes
How to Pick the Right One Near Fairhope Alabama
Perhaps the most important decision you must make to enter the rewarding medical vocation of phlebotomy is to select the right phlebotomy school near Fairhope AL. There are many training programs that are offered in your area and it may seem like an intimidating undertaking to research and analyze each one. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a superior education. More often than not the two qualifications that initially are considered by student applicants are where the school is located and how much the tuition is. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. Online schools will be covered in greater detail a bit later. So when assessing phlebotomy training programs, cost and location shouldn’t be the sole parameters you are looking at. Finding out if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program should also be included in your due diligence process. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must confirm that the instruments being employed are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Fairhope AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to complete and offers a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Fairhope AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some 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 several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for many Fairhope AL students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online may be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Training Programs
Now that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you want 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 Fairhope AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program 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 an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Fairhope AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. 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 talk to a few Fairhope AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Fairhope AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher 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 an extensive network of professional contacts within the Fairhope AL health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Fairhope AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Fairhope Phlebotomist Training Program
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this rewarding health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a variety of academic institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may vary somewhat from state to state as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Fairhope Alabama.