How to Pick the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Alabaster AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomy school near Alabaster AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging undertaking to assess and compare each of the school options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you perform your due diligence to ensure that you get a quality education. In fact, many students begin their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you may look into is whether to attend online classes or commute to a local campus. We'll review a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process as well. Toward that end, 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 ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online training.
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Phlebotomist Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. Although that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Next, paperwork has to be correctly completed 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 in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Alabaster AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly under the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough duties, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The easiest answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work places are numerous and varied, including Alabaster AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to seniors. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in collecting samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would exclusively be collecting blood from older patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. On the other hand, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide variety of patients and would work with new patients each day.
Phlebotomy Technician Education, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and offers a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest means to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomist. Available at community and junior colleges, they normally take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a 4 year program furnish a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, many Alabaster AL employers require certification before employing technicians. Some of the primary 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 require certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, like California and Nevada. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's essential that you choose a phlebotomist training program that not only provides a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing exams that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial portion of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be accessed online, it may be a more convenient option for many Alabaster AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are more affordable than their on-campus counterparts. And some expenditures, such as those for textbooks or commuting, may be minimized as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a quality education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the best option for you.
Should You Train to Be a Phlebotomy Tech?First of all, not many people probably know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have already discussed, the basic answer is a medical professional who draws blood from patients. So of course anyone who decides to enter 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 probably is not right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work with anxious people who hate needles or having a blood sample taken. And because most health care facilities are open 24 hours, you may be required to work weekends, nights and, you guessed it even on holidays. But if you don’t mind working with the blood and needles, and if you enjoy interacting with people and are compassionate and very patient, this could be the perfect job for you.
Questions to Ask Phlebotomist Schools
Since you now have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the kind of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus 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 phlebotomy online school. Each of these decisions are an important component of the procedure for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are some questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your final selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states require certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of clinical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might have to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomy program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and preps you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist school and program 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 benefits to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited programs. Last, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to prospective employers in the Alabaster AL job market.
What is the College's Ranking? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any schools you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can screen internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to some Alabaster AL clinics or hospitals that you may be interested in working for and see if they can offer any recommendations. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been submitted or if the schools are in full compliance.
Is Ample Training Included? 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 clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are reviewing should furnish no less than 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in partnership with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal way to obtain hands-on clinical training often not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop contacts within the local Alabaster AL health care community. And they look good on resumes also.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomy job will be much easier with the assistance of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are considering provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a higher rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a substantial network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL health care community.
Are Classes Compatible With Your Schedule? Finally, it's important to confirm that the final college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly important if you decide to continue working while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Alabaster AL, make sure they are available at those times. Additionally, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, verify it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.
Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Alabaster Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the ideal phlebotomy training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying healthcare field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a superior school. Phlebotomist training programs are available in a wide range of educational institutes, such as junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can vary slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each college before making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your choices so that you can select the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alabaster AL.