How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Program near Alabaster AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician training near Alabaster AL is a critical initial step toward a rewarding career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a superior education. In reality, most prospective students begin the process by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local 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 far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly filled out 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 can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Alabaster AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they can be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The quickest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Alabaster AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, based on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting blood from a specific type of patient. For instance, those practicing in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be collecting samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomist training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education along with 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 exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training to become a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. 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 be certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, most Alabaster AL employers require certification before hiring technicians. Some of the main 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you choose a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Schools
To start with, let's resolve one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. But since the non-practical component of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient alternative for some Alabaster AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is important if you will be commuting from Alabaster AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are reviewing before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. Consequently, you might have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program you pick should be accredited by a recognized regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited school in addition to an assurance of a superior education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically not available for non-accredited schools. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Alabaster AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? 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 along with accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any schools 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 screen internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Alabaster AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be working to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Alabaster AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL health care community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's critical to make sure that the final college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is especially important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alabaster AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training near Alabaster Alabama
Making sure that you choose the right phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a number of educational institutes, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary somewhat from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college 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 pick the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alabaster AL.