How to Find the Right One Near Oxford Alabama
Perhaps the most serious decision you must make to enter the gratifying healthcare vocation of phlebotomy is to select the best phlebotomy school near Oxford AL. There are many training options that are offered in your area and it might seem like an intimidating task to research and analyze each one. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, a large number of potential students start the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Finding out if the program is accredited or if the school has a job assistance program must also be included in your evaluation process. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact far 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. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork must be correctly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Oxford AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education along with 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, although not exclusively a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, most Oxford AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the key certifying agencies 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the course of study will be practical training and it will be performed either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be attended online, it could be a more practical alternative for some Oxford AL students. As an added benefit, many online classes are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online might be the best choice for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Now that you have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on 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 campus is significant if you will be commuting from Oxford AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate 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 a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training performed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. 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 readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you select should be accredited by a recognized 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 superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Oxford AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of all schools you are considering. 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 research online school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also talk to a few Oxford AL hospitals or clinics that you might have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate 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 length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Oxford AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the schools you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Oxford AL medical community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to make sure that the final school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you decide to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Oxford AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Oxford Phlebotomist Training Program
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of educational institutes, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings can differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it comes to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully evaluate and compare each school before making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Oxford Alabama.