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Become a Phlebotomist in Alabaster Alabama

How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Training Classes near Alabaster AL

Alabaster AL phlebotomist drawing blood from patientEnrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician training near Alabaster AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting undertaking to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to make certain that you receive a superior education. In reality, most potential students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into 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 you need to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our discussion about online training.

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Phlebotomist Work Description

Alabaster AL phlebotomy laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main task, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the instruments being utilized are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Alabaster AL labs and are accountable for ensuring that samples are analyzed properly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they might be required to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The simplest answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work environments are numerous and diverse, including Alabaster AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They can be assigned to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.

Phlebotomy Technician Training, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Alabaster AL laboratoryThere are primarily 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program typically takes less than a year to finish and provides a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Alabaster AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies 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 call for certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomist Classes

Alabaster Alabama woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A good part of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-practical part of the training may be attended online, it can be a more practical option for some Alabaster AL students. As an added benefit, some online programs are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized also. Just make certain that the online phlebotomist program you select is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the ideal choice for you.

Should You Choose a Career as a Phlebotomy Technician?

First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic answer is a health care professional whose job is to draw blood. So of course anyone who selects this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Alabaster AL medical environments, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with anxious people who don’t like 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 blood and needles, and if you enjoy helping people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect profession for you.

Subjects to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges

Questions to ask Alabaster AL phlebotomy schoolsNow that you have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you intend 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 as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may have to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you enroll in 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 a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited school in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Alabaster AL job market.

What is the College's Ranking? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job placement program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also contact several Alabaster AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can provide any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in full compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Included? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not expansive enough to offer adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Alabaster AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL medical community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final college you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to college. If you need to go to classes at night 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, verify it is an option as well. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

Choose the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Alabaster Alabama

Making certain that you pick the right phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each program prior to making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alabaster AL.