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Become a Phlebotomist in Alabaster Alabama

How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Alabaster AL

Alabaster AL phlebotomy tech drawing blood from patientPicking the right phlebotomist training near Alabaster AL is an important initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to evaluate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, most potential students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will supply 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 before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online schools.

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Phlebotomist Career Description

Alabaster AL phlebotomy lab techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be properly completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Alabaster AL laboratories and are responsible for ensuring that samples are tested correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The most basic response is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, including Alabaster AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain kind of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing

blood testing done in Alabaster AL laboratoryThere are primarily two kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more extensive background in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not required in most states, a number of Alabaster AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the principal certifying organizations 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only offers a superior education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomist Colleges

Alabaster Alabama woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo begin with, let's dispel one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the curriculum 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 completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical portion of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Alabaster AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.

Should You Go to School to Become a Plebotomist?

First of all, few people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who chooses this profession must be comfortable with blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Alabaster AL medical facilities, well this profession may not be right for you. And now let’s talk about the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because many medical facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the right profession for you.

Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools

Questions to ask Alabaster AL phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you wish 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 tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. 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 colleges you are looking at before making your final decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills 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 program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Alabaster AL job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also check with several Alabaster AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with 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 practicing 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 reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish contacts within the local Alabaster AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL medical community.

Are Class Times Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate school you pick offers classes at times that will accommodate your active schedule. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Alabaster AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. Even 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 policy is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Alabaster Alabama

Making certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own mandates when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each school before making your ultimate decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alabaster AL.