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Become a Phlebotomist in Birmingham Alabama

How to Pick the Right Phlebotomy Training Program near Birmingham AL

Birmingham AL phlebotomy tech drawing bloodSelecting the ideal phlebotomy training near Birmingham AL is a critical first step toward a rewarding profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's necessary that you do your due diligence to ensure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of students start the process by considering two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another factor you might look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to a nearby campus. We'll discuss a bit more about online schools 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 closest or the cheapest one. Other variables including accreditation and reputation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process also. To assist in that effort, we will provide a list of questions that you should 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 resume our conversation about online training.

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Phlebotomy Tech Job Description

Birmingham AL phlebotomy laboratory technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their primary responsibility, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist needs to verify that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be accurately labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly completed in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab screening procedure. The phlebotomist then delivers the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Birmingham AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly utilizing the highest quality control procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they might be asked to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomists Employed?

The simplest response is wherever there are patients. Their work environments are many and diverse, including Birmingham AL hospitals, medical clinics, nursing homes, or blood banks. They can be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or young children to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a specific type of patient. For example, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be drawing blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers solely. In contrast, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.

Phlebotomy Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis performed in Birmingham AL laboratoryThere are essentially 2 kinds of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to complete and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the fastest 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. Offered at junior and community colleges, they typically require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program provide a more expansive background in lab sciences. Once you have finished your training, you will probably want to get certified. While not required in the majority of states, many Birmingham AL employers require certification prior to employing 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 require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, such as Nevada and California. California and a few other states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only supplies a superior education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Phlebotomy Online Classes

Birmingham Alabama student attending phlebotomy training onlineTo start with, let's resolve one potential mistaken belief. You can't get all of your phlebotomy training online. A good component of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many 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 can be a more convenient option for some Birmingham AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced as well. Just confirm that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the ideal choice for you.

Questions to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

Since you now have a general understanding about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already picked the type 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 important if you will be commuting from Birmingham AL in addition to the tuition expense. Possibly you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist program. All of these decisions are an important component of the process for selecting a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are considering before making your final selection.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Alabama? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states call for certification, while a few others mandate licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of clinical training completed prior to practicing as a phlebotomist. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomist program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for all exams you may have to take.

Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you pick should be accredited by a highly regarded regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are a number of advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a superior education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam administered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are typically not available for non-accredited colleges. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to future employers in the Birmingham AL job market.

What is the Program's Ranking? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential to investigate the reputations of any colleges you are reviewing. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their graduates 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 also contact some Birmingham AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any grievances have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Sufficient Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be working to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the length 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 lower than these minimums may signify that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide adequate training.

Are Internships Provided? Ask the schools you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with local medical facilities. They are the optimal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop relationships within the local Birmingham AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomy position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a school has a high rate, meaning they place the majority of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Birmingham AL medical community.

Are Class Times Compatible With Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to verify that the ultimate program you choose provides classes at times that will accommodate your busy schedule. This is particularly true if you opt to still work while going to college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Birmingham AL, make certain 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 clinical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up procedure is should you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.

Learn How to Become a Phlebotomist

Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training Program near Birmingham Alabama

Making sure that you select the ideal 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 contribute toward the selection of a superior college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs are available in a variety of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings may differ slightly across the country as every state has its own requirements when it concerns phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most important point is that you must thoroughly research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, 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 realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Birmingham AL.