How to Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Alabaster AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Alabaster AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the school alternatives that are available to you. However it's necessary that you perform your due diligence to make certain that you receive a quality education. In reality, most prospective students start the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. An additional option you may consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll discuss more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your decision process as well. To assist in that effort, 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 best one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Work Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be properly filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory screening process. 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Alabaster AL laboratories and are accountable for making certain that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to train other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomy Techs Work?
The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Alabaster AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a certain type of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be drawing blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing
There are basically two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to complete and furnishes a general education together with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest 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 phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. Once you have completed your training, you will probably want to be certified. Although not required in the majority of states, most Alabaster AL employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the principal 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 phlebotomist, such as California and Nevada. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
First, let's dispel one possible mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant part of the curriculum 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 in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more practical alternative for many Alabaster AL students. As an additional benefit, some online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenses, for instance those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a premium education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You might have already selected the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Alabaster AL in addition to the cost of tuition. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. Each of these decisions are an important part of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about all of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final decision.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As earlier discussed, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed before working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited school aside from an assurance of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the earlier listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more attractive to future employers in the Alabaster AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check out the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even contact some Alabaster AL hospitals or clinics that you may be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in full compliance.
Is Sufficient Training Provided? To begin with, contact the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything lower than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the colleges you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with area healthcare facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Alabaster AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Landing your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL health care community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's critical to verify that the final school you choose offers classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alabaster AL, check that they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option also. And if you have decided to study online, with the clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is in case you need to miss any classes as a result of illness or emergencies.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Alabaster Alabama
Making sure that you select the ideal phlebotomist training is an important first step toward your success in this fulfilling healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomy training programs are offered in a number of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Course options can vary slightly across the country as each state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must carefully screen and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alabaster AL.