How to Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Course near Alabaster AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy school near Alabaster AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a superior education. In reality, many potential students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important 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 assessing to help you choose the best one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their principal duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab 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. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Alabaster AL labs and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and varied, such as Alabaster AL hospitals, medical clinics, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, a number of Alabaster AL employers look for certification before employing 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 a few states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To begin with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A good part of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical component of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical option for many Alabaster AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable 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 phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the best choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type 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 Alabaster AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program 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 a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Alabaster AL job market.
What is the Program's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's important to check the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can start by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their students as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact a few Alabaster AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Ample 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Alabaster AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Assistance Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's important to verify that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Alabaster AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain 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 illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Alabaster Alabama
Making sure that you choose the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may vary a bit from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school before making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alabaster AL.