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Become a Phlebotomist in Birmingham Alabama

How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomy School near Birmingham AL

Birmingham AL phlebotomist drawing blood from patientSelecting the ideal phlebotomist training near Birmingham AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a difficult undertaking to evaluate and compare all of the school alternatives that are accessible to you. However it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you get a superior education. In reality, most potential students begin their search by looking at 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are cost and location. An additional option you may look into is whether to attend online classes 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 comparing phlebotomy training programs than locating the closest or the cheapest one. Other variables such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and need to be part of your selection process too. Toward that end, we will provide a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and then continue our discussion about online training.

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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary

Birmingham AL phlebotomist lab technicianA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their principal duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Before drawing a blood sample, a phlebotomist must check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. After collection, the sample must be accurately labeled with the patient's information. Afterward, paperwork has to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the laboratory testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it may be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Some phlebotomists actually work in Birmingham AL laboratories and are responsible for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the highest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't sufficient duties, they can be required to train other phlebotomists in the drawing, delivery and follow-up process.

Where do Phlebotomists Work?

The easiest answer is wherever there are patients. Their workplaces are many and varied, such as Birmingham AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood centers. They may be tasked to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from babies or toddlers to seniors. Some phlebotomy techs, based on their training and their practice, specialize in drawing samples from a particular type of patient. For instance, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from elderly patients. If they are working in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomy technicians working in a general hospital setting would be drawing blood from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from different patients on a daily basis.

Phlebotomist Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Birmingham AL laboratoryThere are primarily two types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program usually takes under a year to finish and provides a general 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, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomist degree, will incorporate training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at community and junior colleges, they usually require two years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are not as available and as a 4 year program offer a more expansive background in lab sciences. After you have completed your training, you will no doubt want to get certified. While not mandated in the majority of states, many Birmingham AL employers look for certification prior to hiring technicians. A few of the principal certifying organizations 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 in order to practice as a phlebotomy tech, like Nevada and California. California and a handful of other states even require licensing. So it's imperative that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a superior education, but also readies you for any licensing or certification examinations that you are required or elect to take.

Online Phlebotomy Training

Birmingham AL student attending phlebotomy training onlineFirst, let's dispel one likely mistaken belief. You can't receive all of your phlebotomist training online. A good portion of the program of studies will be practical training and it will be conducted either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. Numerous courses also require completing an internship in order to graduate. However since the non-clinical part of the training may be accessed online, it could be a more practical option for some Birmingham AL students. As an additional benefit, many online colleges are less expensive than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be minimized also. Just make sure that the online phlebotomist program you enroll in 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 superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then earning your certificate or degree online may be the right choice for you.

What to Ask Phlebotomy Programs

Now that you have a general idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to begin your due diligence process. You might have already picked the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we mentioned earlier, the location of the college is relevant if you will be commuting from Birmingham AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomy online program. Each of these decisions are a critical part of the procedure for selecting a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only considerations when making your decision. Below we have provided several questions that you need to ask about each of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate selection.

Is the Phlebotomy Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own laws for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Some states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Every state has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training completed prior to working as a phlebotomist. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification examination. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that meets the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and readies you for all exams you may be required to take.

Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you pick should be accredited by a respected national or regional 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 an assurance of a superior education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification exam offered by any of the earlier listed certifying agencies. Next, accreditation will help in securing financial aid or loans, which are frequently unavailable for non-accredited schools. Finally, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited college can make you more desirable to prospective employers in the Birmingham AL job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In numerous states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomy schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check out the reputations of any colleges you are considering. You can begin by asking the schools for references from employers where they refer their students as part of their job assistance program. You can research online school rating and review services and ask the accrediting agencies for their reviews also. You can even talk to a few Birmingham AL clinics or hospitals that you might have an interest in working for and ask if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and find out if any complaints have been submitted or if the colleges are in full compliance.

Is Sufficient 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 amount of training, both clinical and classroom. At a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are looking at 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 offer adequate training.

Are Internship Programs Provided? Ask the colleges you are considering if they have an internship program in collaboration with regional healthcare facilities. They are the optimal means to obtain hands-on practical training typically not provided on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can help students develop relationships within the local Birmingham AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.

Is Job Placement Support Provided? Finding your first phlebotomy job will be a lot easier with the help of a job placement program. Ask if the programs you are looking at offer assistance and what their job placement rate is. If a college has a high rate, signifying they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the college has both an excellent reputation as well as a large network of professional contacts within the Birmingham AL medical community.

Are Class Times Conveniently Scheduled? Finally, it's crucial to make sure that the final college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly true if you opt to continue working while attending school. If you need to go to classes at night or on weekends near Birmingham AL, make certain they are offered at those times. Also, if you can only attend part-time, make sure 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 policy is in case you have to miss any classes due to emergencies or illness.

Enroll in the Right Phlebotomy Training near Birmingham Alabama

Birmingham AL phlebotomist laboratory blood testingMaking certain that you pick the ideal phlebotomist training is an essential first step toward your success in this gratifying medical care field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium college. Phlebotomy certificate or degree programs can be found in a wide range of academic institutions, including junior or community colleges, vocational schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide array of programs in healthcare and medical sciences. Program options can differ somewhat across the country as every state has its own requirements when it pertains to phlebotomist training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you need to thoroughly research and compare each program prior to making your final decision. By asking the questions that we have presented, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the best phlebotomist program for you. And with the appropriate training, you can reach your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Birmingham AL.