How to Find the Right One Near Opelika Alabama
A critical first step you must take to enter the rewarding healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to choose the right phlebotomy training near Opelika AL. There are many training programs available to you and it can seem like an intimidating task to investigate and analyze each one. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do 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. An additional factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. Online classes will be discussed in more detail a bit later. So when evaluating phlebotomist training courses, location and cost must not be the only criteria you are looking at. Researching if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program should also be part of your evaluation process. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you choose the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports 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. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Opelika AL labs and are in charge of ensuring that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and provides a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Opelika AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main certifying organizations 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 phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Classes
To begin with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it can be a more convenient alternative for some Opelika AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lessened also. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive 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 option for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomist Training Programs
Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school 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 phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy 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 College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you choose should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining 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 future employers in the Opelika AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even check with a few Opelika AL clinics or hospitals that you may 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 complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? 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 clinical and classroom. At 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 clinical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Opelika AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Opelika AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while going to college. 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, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain 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 illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Opelika Phlebotomist Training Program
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a superior program. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a number of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide assortment of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary slightly across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each college prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Opelika Alabama.