How to Select the Right Phlebotomist Training Classes near Alabaster AL
Enrolling in the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Alabaster AL is an essential initial step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you receive a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students begin the process by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might 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's important to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as accreditation and reputation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to check that the tools being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork has to be properly filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Alabaster AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The simplest response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are many and varied, including Alabaster AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or young children to seniors. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Training, Licensing and Certification
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes less than a year to finish and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to be certified. While not required in the majority of states, most Alabaster AL employers require certification prior to employing technicians. A few of the principal 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 call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Online Phlebotomist Certificates and Degrees
To start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't get all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training can be accessed online, it might be a more practical alternative for some Alabaster AL students. As an added benefit, some online classes are more affordable than their on-campus competitors. And some costs, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy school you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Now that you have a general idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate 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 mentioned earlier, the location of the school is important if you will be commuting from Alabaster AL as well as the tuition expense. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy college. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the schools you are reviewing prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while some others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification 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 practicing and preps you for all examinations you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to an assurance of a quality education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Alabaster AL job market.
What is the School's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews as well. You can also talk to several Alabaster AL hospitals or clinics 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 grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Adequate Training Included? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should provide at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Alabaster AL healthcare community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Offered? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both a good reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL healthcare community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to verify that the final program you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is especially true 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 sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm 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 completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training Program near Alabaster Alabama
Making certain that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of academic institutions, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options may vary somewhat across the country as each state has its own requirements when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must diligently screen and compare each college prior to making your final selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the best phlebotomist college for you. And with the appropriate education, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alabaster AL.