How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy School near Alabaster AL
Choosing the right phlebotomy technician school near Alabaster AL is an important initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to assess and compare each of the training options that are available to you. However it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In reality, a large number of potential students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is much more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors including accreditation and reputation are also important 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 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 resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary function, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must verify that the instruments being used are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out to be able 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 may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy 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 properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they may be asked to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The simplest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are numerous and varied, such as Alabaster AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a specific kind of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Education, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and provides a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally require two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Alabaster AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few of the key certifying agencies 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you select a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomy Colleges
First, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it can be a more practical alternative for some Alabaster AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, such as those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist school you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can receive a quality education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the kind of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Alabaster AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future 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 those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can also contact several Alabaster AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internships Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on clinical training typically not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Alabaster AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a higher rate, meaning they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with a large network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Available as Needed? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alabaster AL, check that they are offered at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, verify it is an option as well. 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 in case you have to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Alabaster Alabama
Making certain that you choose the right phlebotomy training is a critical 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 training programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a comprehensive range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program offerings can vary a bit across the country as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must carefully screen and compare each college before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the ideal phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper education, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alabaster AL.