How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Alabaster AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Alabaster AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many prospective students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a local campus. We'll talk a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. To assist in that effort, we will supply a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the right one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists in fact work in Alabaster 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 responsibilities, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and varied, including Alabaster AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to finish and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually take 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, many Alabaster AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the main certifying agencies include:
- National Phlebotomy Association
- National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
- American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
- American Medical Technologists (AMT)
There are several states that do require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good 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 can be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for many Alabaster AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you enroll in is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior 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 best option for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, few people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have previously discussed, the short definition is a medical professional whose job is to draw blood. So naturally anyone who selects this profession must be able to handle blood and needles. And if you are not comfortable in hospitals or other Alabaster AL medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists often work with nervous people who hate needles or having their blood drawn. And because many medical facilities are open 24 hours, you will probably be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this may be the right profession for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is relevant 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 phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable regional or national 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 aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Alabaster AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to check out the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can even talk to some Alabaster AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area medical facilities. They are the ideal 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 also.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate program you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially important if you choose to continue working while attending school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Alabaster AL, make certain they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to attend online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is should you have to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Alabaster Alabama
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care field. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide assortment of courses in medical care and health sciences. Training program offerings can differ somewhat from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully research and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy college for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alabaster AL.