Phlebotomist Training Courses
How to Find the Best One Near Opelika Alabama
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Opelika AL is a critical first step toward a gratifying career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. Quite often the two qualifications that initially come to mind for student applicants are the location of the school and the cost of tuition. Another factor you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. Online schools will be discussed in greater detail a bit later. So when evaluating phlebotomy training courses, location and cost shouldn’t be the only criteria you are looking at. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your decision process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Opelika AL labs and are accountable for making sure that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Opelika 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 several states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial component 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. Numerous courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical alternative for many Opelika AL students. As an added benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the best option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Training Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already chosen 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 relevant if you will be commuting from Opelika AL in addition to the tuition expense. Maybe you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Opelika AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even contact a few Opelika AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area medical facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Opelika AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Opelika AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Opelika AL, check that they are available 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 clinical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Opelika Phlebotomy Training
Making certain that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ a bit across the country as each state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Opelika Alabama.