How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Alabaster AL
Picking the right phlebotomist school near Alabaster AL is an essential initial step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to evaluate and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In fact, a large number of potential students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another option you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What's important to keep in mind is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and should be part of your selection process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are evaluating 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 conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Summary
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main responsibility, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Alabaster AL laboratories and are in charge of making certain that samples are tested properly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.
Where are Phlebotomists Employed?
The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, such as Alabaster AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomy techs, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing blood from a specific type of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Certification and Licensing
There are basically 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomy training, which are degree and certificate programs. The certificate program normally takes less than a year to complete and provides a basic education together with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Alabaster AL employers look for certification before employing technicians. Some of the key 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomist training program that not only supplies a premium education, but also preps you for any licensing or certification examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
First, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomist training online. A significant portion of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Alabaster AL students. As an added benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can receive a quality education with this means of learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then attaining your degree or certificate online may be the right choice for you.
Should You Go to School to Become a Phlebotomy Tech?Right out of the gate, not many people probably know what a phlebotomy tech or phlebotomist is. As we have already discussed, the short answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be comfortable with needles and blood. And if you are nervous in hospitals or other Alabaster AL medical environments, well this profession probably is not the best choice for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomy Techs routinely work around anxious people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you may be expected to work weekends, evenings and even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the needles and blood, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the perfect job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to start your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type 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 in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided a few questions that you need to ask about all of the colleges you are considering prior to making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Alabama? As mentioned previously, each state has its own regulations for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to practicing 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 practicing and preps you for any exams you may have to take.
Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable regional or national accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Alabaster AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Alabaster AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and see if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Enough Training Provided? To begin with, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the length of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are reviewing should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything less than these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with area health care facilities. They are the ideal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not provided on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students establish relationships within the local Alabaster AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Available? Landing your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the schools you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high 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 substantial network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL healthcare community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final program you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your busy lifestyle. This is especially important if you opt to still work while going to school. If you need to go to classes in the evenings or on weekends near Alabaster AL, make certain they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. And 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 have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Choose the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Alabaster Alabama
Making certain that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist 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 multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutes, such as junior or community colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Training program offerings may differ a bit from state to state as each state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you must thoroughly evaluate and compare each school before making your final decision. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper education, you can achieve your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Alabaster AL.