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Become a Phlebotomist in Alabaster Alabama

How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Alabaster AL

Alabaster AL phlebotomist drawing bloodPicking the right phlebotomy training near Alabaster AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging task to assess and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, many prospective students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you might look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Work Summary

Alabaster AL phlebotomy lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Alabaster AL labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their work places are numerous and varied, such as Alabaster AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For instance, those practicing 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 collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.

Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification

blood testing done in Alabaster AL laboratoryThere are essentially two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Alabaster AL employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary 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 California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomy Online Classes

Alabaster AL woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient option for many Alabaster AL students. As an added benefit, many online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just verify that the online phlebotomy school you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best option for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

Now that you have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already decided on the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant if you will be commuting from Alabaster AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to select a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any exams you may have to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to future employers in the Alabaster AL job market.

What is the School's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can screen online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to a few Alabaster AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact 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. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.

Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish contacts within the local Alabaster AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL health care community.

Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's important to confirm that the final college you select offers classes at times that will accommodate your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you opt to continue working while attending college. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Alabaster AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, 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 sure those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

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Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Alabaster Alabama

Making certain that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be offered in a wide range of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary a bit across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alabaster AL.