How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Tech School near Alabaster AL
Picking the right phlebotomy technician training near Alabaster AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to analyze and compare all of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In reality, most prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process as well. 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 pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the 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 screening process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Alabaster AL labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The quickest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Alabaster AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital environment would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a four year program provide a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Alabaster AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 some states that do call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Online Phlebotomist Colleges
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for many Alabaster AL students. As an additional benefit, many online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenses, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomy program 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 superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.
Subjects to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Alabaster AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited college can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Alabaster AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any schools you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen online school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also contact a few Alabaster AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. 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 total compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length 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 (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Alabaster AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL medical community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to make sure that the final program you choose offers classes at times that will accommodate your active lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alabaster AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Alabaster Alabama
Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a number of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options may vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alabaster AL.