How to Find the Best Phlebotomy Training Classes near Alabaster AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist school near Alabaster AL is a critical initial step toward a fulfilling profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult task to analyze and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. However it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you get a quality education. In reality, most students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll review 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. 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 select the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then resume our discussion about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Technician Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main duty, there is actually far more to their job description. Prior to drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be correctly labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork must be accurately filled out to be able to track the sample from the point of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be screened for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Alabaster AL labs and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, delivery and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?
The most basic answer is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are many and diverse, such as Alabaster AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be assigned to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would only be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are primarily two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at community and junior colleges, they typically take two years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program provide a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. While not mandated in most states, a number of Alabaster AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only provides a premium education, but also prepares you for any certification or licensing exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Training
To begin with, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the program of studies will be practical 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. But since the non-clinical component of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient alternative for some Alabaster AL students. As an additional benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their on-campus counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist school you select 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 superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the ideal choice for you.
Points to Ask Phlebotomy Programs
Since you now have a basic understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is relevant if you will be commuting from Alabaster AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about each of the programs you are looking at prior to making your ultimate decision.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may have to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that satisfies the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Alabaster AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of any schools you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place 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 also. You can even check with several Alabaster AL hospitals or clinics that you might be interested in working for and find out if they can offer any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish sufficient training.
Are Internships Included? Ask the programs you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get 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 Provided? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Inquire if the colleges you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both a good reputation along with an extensive network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL medical community.
Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your active schedule. This is especially important if you decide to continue working while attending college. If you need to attend classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alabaster AL, make certain they are offered 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 completed within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is should you need to miss any classes as a result of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Alabaster Alabama
Making sure that you pick the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that contribute toward the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist certificate or degree programs are offered in a variety of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program options can vary a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each college before making your final choice. By addressing the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alabaster AL.