How to Choose the Right Phlebotomy Tech Training Course near Birmingham AL
Enrolling in the right phlebotomist training near Birmingham AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you receive a quality education. In fact, a large number of students begin the process by looking at two of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Yet another factor you might consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review a bit more about online schools later in this article. What you need to remember is that there is far more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and must be part of your selection process as well. To assist in that effort, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the right one for you. But prior to doing that, let's address what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online schools.
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Phlebotomy Technician Job Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, draws blood from patients. While that is their main duty, there is in fact so much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to confirm that the instruments being used are sterile and single use only. After collection, the sample must be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order 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 screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Birmingham AL laboratories and are accountable for making sure that samples are analyzed correctly using the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough responsibilities, they may be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the collection, transport and follow-up process.
Where do Phlebotomists Work?
The quickest response is wherever they treat patients. Their work places are numerous and diverse, such as Birmingham AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to seniors. A number of phlebotomists, depending on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples 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 working in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be collecting blood from a wide range of patients and would work with different patients every day.
Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially 2 types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes under a year to finish and furnishes a basic education along with the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomist. Offered at junior and community colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as accessible and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. When you have completed your training, you will probably want to get certified. Although not mandated in the majority of states, a number of Birmingham AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some of the main 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 in order to practice 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 offers a quality education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomist Online Training
To begin with, let's resolve one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A significant component of the curriculum will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-practical portion of the training may be attended online, it could be a more convenient alternative for many Birmingham AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online classes are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some expenses, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be lessened as well. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you select is accredited by a national or regional accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive online and clinical training, you can obtain a superior education with this method of learning. If you are disciplined enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online might be the right option for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomy Schools
Since you now have a basic idea about what it takes to become a phlebotomy tech, it's time to initiate your due diligence process. You may have already chosen the type of program you intend to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the campus is significant if you will be commuting from Birmingham AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited online phlebotomist school. All of these decisions are a critical component of the process for picking a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the sole concerns when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you should ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your ultimate selection.
Is the Phlebotomist Program State Specific? As mentioned previously, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomist. Several states call for certification, while a few others require licensing. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum amount of practical training performed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you might need to pass a State Board, certification or licensing examination. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for any examinations you may be required to take.
Is the Program Accredited? The phlebotomy program and school you enroll in should be accredited by a highly regarded national or regional accrediting agency, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many advantages to graduating from an accredited program aside from an assurance of a premium education. First, if your program has not received accreditation, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam offered by any of the previously listed certifying agencies. Also, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Birmingham AL job market.
What is the Program's Ranking? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy colleges, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So in addition to accreditation, it's important to investigate the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place their graduates as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and solicit the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can also talk to some Birmingham AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and ask if they can provide any recommendations. 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 Ample Training Included? First, contact the state regulator where you will be working 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 looking at should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of clinical training. Anything below these minimums might indicate that the program is not comprehensive enough to provide sufficient training.
Are Internship Programs Included? Ask the colleges you are looking at if they have an internship program in partnership with local health care facilities. They are the ideal means to receive hands-on practical training frequently not obtainable on campus. As an added benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Birmingham AL healthcare community. And they are a plus on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Help Offered? Landing your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Inquire if the programs you are considering provide 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 program has both an excellent reputation along with a substantial network of professional contacts within the Birmingham AL health care community.
Are Class Times Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's critical to confirm that the ultimate school you choose provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic lifestyle. This is especially true if you decide to still work while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Birmingham AL, check that they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, confirm it is an option also. Even if you have decided to attend online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And find out what the make-up policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.
Pick the Right Phlebotomist Training near Birmingham Alabama
Making sure that you choose the most suitable phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare career position. As we have covered in this article, there are a number of factors that go into the selection of a premium school. Phlebotomist training programs are found in a wide range of educational institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer an extensive range of programs in medical care and health sciences. Course offerings can differ slightly from state to state as each state has its own criteria when it concerns phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to carefully evaluate and compare each program prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can select the right phlebotomist college for you. And with the proper training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Birmingham AL.