How to Select the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Alabaster AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy technician school near Alabaster AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to investigate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a superior education. In fact, a large number of students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select 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 Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary duty, there is actually so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. 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 infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Alabaster AL laboratories 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 asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are many and varied, such as Alabaster AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be charged to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients on a daily basis.
Phlebotomy Technician Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and provides a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Alabaster AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the key 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a premium education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomy Online Schools
To start with, let's dispel one potential mistaken belief. You can't get 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. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for many Alabaster AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal option for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the school is relevant 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 college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you should ask about each of the schools you are looking at prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. 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 preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are often unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, 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 School's Reputation? In many 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 out the reputations of all 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 research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews also. You can also check with some Alabaster AL clinics or hospitals that you might be interested in working for and see if they can provide 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 Sufficient Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to obtain hands-on clinical training typically not available on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Alabaster AL health care community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to confirm that the final college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alabaster AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Alabaster Alabama
Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care field. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality program. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be available in a wide range of educational institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program offerings may vary a bit across the country as each state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your final choice. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the ideal phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alabaster AL.