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Become a Phlebotomist in Alabaster Alabama

How to Choose the Best Phlebotomy Technician Training Program near Alabaster AL

Alabaster AL phlebotomist drawing blood from patientEnrolling in the right phlebotomist training near Alabaster AL is an important first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a challenging task to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In fact, many students begin their search by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll talk more about online classes later in this article. What's important to remember is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you select 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 schools.

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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description

Alabaster AL phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their main function, there is actually so much more to their job description. Before collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the tools being employed are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be properly labeled with the patient's information. Next, paperwork must be accurately completed to be able to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. A number of phlebotomists actually work in Alabaster AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly using the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Practice?

The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and diverse, including Alabaster AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would only be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.

Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing

blood testing performed in Alabaster AL labThere are primarily 2 types of programs that provide phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program normally takes under a year to finish and offers a basic education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not exclusively a phlebotomy degree, will include training on becoming a phlebotomist. Available at junior and community colleges, they normally require 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available 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 be certified. Although not mandated in most states, a number of Alabaster AL employers require certification prior to hiring technicians. Some of the primary certifying agencies include:

  • National Phlebotomy Association
  • National Healthcareer Association (NHA)
  • American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP)
  • American Medical Technologists (AMT)

There are some states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only furnishes a quality education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification exams that you elect or are required to take.

Phlebotomist Online Colleges

Alabaster Alabama woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's dispel one potential misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the course of study will be practical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completion of an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical component of the training can be accessed online, it could be a more convenient alternative for some Alabaster AL students. As an added benefit, some online classes are less expensive than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomy program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Colleges

Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the kind of program you want to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Alabaster AL as well as the tuition expense. Possibly you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy school. Each of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when arriving at your decision. Below we have provided some questions that you need to ask about all of the schools you are considering prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of clinical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's very important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and readies you for all exams you may have to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a reputable national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are several advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not be able to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting financial aid or loans, which are typically unavailable for non-accredited colleges. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to potential employers in the Alabaster AL job market.

What is the School's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges 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 assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even check with some Alabaster AL hospitals or clinics that you may 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 complaints have been filed or if the colleges are in total compliance.

Is Plenty of 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 length of training, both clinical and classroom. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Included? Find out from the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on clinical training frequently not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Alabaster AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Assistance Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist position will be much easier with the support of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the school has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Alabaster AL medical community.

Are Classes Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to confirm that the final college you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your busy schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while attending school. If you can only attend classes at night or on weekends near Alabaster AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option as well. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make sure those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Alabaster Alabama

Alabaster AL phlebotomy lab blood testingMaking certain that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding medical care field. As we have addressed in this article, there are several factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a variety of academic institutions, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a comprehensive array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can vary slightly across the country as every state has its own mandates when it comes to phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each program before making your ultimate decision. 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 program for you. And with the proper training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Alabaster AL.