How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Birmingham AL
Selecting the ideal phlebotomist training near Birmingham AL is a critical first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to analyze and compare each of the training alternatives that are available to you. Nevertheless it's important that you do your due diligence to ensure that you receive a superior education. In fact, many students start their search by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are cost and location. Another option you may look into is whether to attend classes online or commute to an area campus. We'll talk a bit more about online classes later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and need to be part of your decision process too. Toward that end, 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 right one for you. But before we do that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our conversation about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Tech Career Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, draws blood from patients. While that is their primary task, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. Following the collection, the sample must be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be correctly filled out in order to track the sample from the point of collection through the laboratory testing procedure. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an in-house lab or to an outside lab facility where it can be tested for such things as pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Some phlebotomists in fact work in Birmingham AL labs and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested properly under the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they may be required to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Practice?
The most basic answer is wherever patients are treated. Their work environments are many and diverse, such as Birmingham AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They can be charged to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from babies or toddlers to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in a nursing home or assisted living facility would solely be drawing blood from senior patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from newborns and mothers solely. On the other hand, phlebotomists working in a general hospital environment would be collecting blood from a wide variety of patients and would collect samples from new patients every day.
Phlebotomy Training, Licensing and Certification
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a general 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they usually take two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less accessible and as a 4 year program furnish a more extensive foundation in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in most states, a number of Birmingham AL employers look for certification before hiring technicians. A few 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 several states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including California and Nevada. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's essential that you select a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also readies you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.
Phlebotomist Online Certificates and Degrees
First, let's resolve one potential misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A substantial part of the course of study 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 in order to graduate. But since the non-clinical portion of the training can be attended online, it might be a more practical alternative for many Birmingham AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online schools are less expensive than their on-campus competitors. And some expenditures, for instance those for textbooks or commuting, may be lowered as well. Just make certain that the online phlebotomy college you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting agency (more on accreditation to follow). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a premium education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to study at home, then earning your degree or certificate online might be the right choice for you.
Should You Become a Phlebotomy Technician?First of all, not many people are likely to know what a phlebotomist or phlebotomy technician is. As we have previously discussed, the basic definition is a health care professional who draws blood from patients. So naturally anyone who decides to enter this profession must be OK around blood and needles. And if you are anxious in hospitals or other Birmingham AL medical facilities, well this job may not be right for you. And then there are the patients. Phlebotomists routinely work around nervous people who don’t like needles or having a blood sample drawn. And because most health care facilities are open around the clock, you will probably be required to work weekends, nights and even on holidays. But if you can handle the hours and the needles and blood, and if you enjoy helping people and are patient and compassionate, this could be the right job for you.
What to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Now that you have a basic understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomy tech, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You may have already decided on the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a degree or a certificate. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is important if you will be commuting from Birmingham AL as well as the cost of tuition. Maybe you have decided to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomy program. All of these decisions are a critical component of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. 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 programs you are considering before making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As previously mentioned, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while a few others require licensing. Every state has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing exam. Therefore it's extremely important to select a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be working and prepares you for all exams you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a respected national or regional accrediting agency, for example the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program in addition to a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not be able to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in obtaining loans or financial assistance, which are frequently not available for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Birmingham AL job market.
What is the School's Reputation? In a number of states there is minimal or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest quality. So in addition to accreditation, it's essential 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 assistance program. You can research internet school reviews and rating services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even check with 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 final thought, you can contact the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in total compliance.
Is Ample Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to find out if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. At a minimum, any phlebotomist program that you are looking at should provide no less than 40 hours of classroom training (most require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything less than these minimums may indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to offer adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Sponsored? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional health care facilities. They are the ideal way to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Birmingham AL medical community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Assistance Provided? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the colleges you are considering offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place the majority of their students in jobs, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation together with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Birmingham AL health care community.
Are Class Times Available as Needed? Finally, it's critical to verify that the ultimate program you pick offers classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is particularly true if you choose to still work while attending college. If you need to attend classes at night or on weekends near Birmingham AL, make sure they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option as well. And 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 protocol is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Choose the Best Phlebotomist Training near Birmingham Alabama
Making sure that you enroll in the most suitable phlebotomy training is an essential first step toward your success in this fulfilling medical care career position. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a quality college. Phlebotomy training programs are available in a variety of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide an extensive assortment of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Course offerings may differ a bit across the country as every state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you need to thoroughly screen and compare each school prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have provided, you will be able to narrow down your choices so that you can pick the right phlebotomy college for you. And with the appropriate training, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Birmingham AL.