How to Enroll in the Best Phlebotomist Training Course near Birmingham AL
Choosing the ideal phlebotomy technician school near Birmingham AL is an essential first step toward a fulfilling career as a phlebotomist. It might seem like a daunting task to assess and compare each of the training alternatives that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's important that you complete your due diligence to make certain that you obtain a quality education. In reality, many students begin their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that first come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor you may consider is whether to attend online classes or commute to a nearby campus. We'll review more about online schools later in this article. What you need to keep in mind is that there is a lot more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than finding the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also significant considerations and must be part of your selection process also. Toward that end, we will furnish a list of questions that you should ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are reviewing to help you select the ideal one for you. But prior to doing that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards continue our conversation about online classes.
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Phlebotomy Tech Work Description
A phlebotomist, or phlebotomy technician, collects blood samples from patients. While that is their main task, there is in fact much more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to verify that the tools being used are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample needs to be properly labeled with the patient's data. Afterward, paperwork needs to be accurately filled out in order to track the sample from the time of collection through the lab testing process. The phlebotomist then transports the blood to either an an outside lab facility or an in-house lab where it can be screened for such things as infectious diseases, pregnancy or blood type. Many phlebotomists in fact work in Birmingham AL labs and are accountable for making certain that samples are analyzed correctly utilizing the strictest quality assurance procedures. And if those weren't enough 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 workplaces are numerous and diverse, such as Birmingham AL medical clinics, hospitals, long-term care facilities, or blood banks. They may be charged to draw blood samples from patients of all ages, from infants or young children to senior citizens. A number of phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in collecting samples from a particular kind of patient. For example, those working in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from senior patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be drawing blood from mothers and newborns solely. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital environment would be drawing blood from a wide variety of patients and would work with different patients each day.
Phlebotomist Training, Certification and Licensing
There are essentially two types of programs that offer phlebotomy training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program generally takes less than a year to complete and furnishes a general education along with the training on how to draw blood. It provides the fastest route to becoming a phlebotomy tech. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, although not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training on becoming a phlebotomy tech. Offered at community and junior colleges, they usually require 2 years to complete. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program provide a more expansive foundation in lab sciences. After you have finished your training, you will probably want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, many Birmingham AL employers look for certification prior to employing technicians. Some 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 a few states that do require certification in order to practice as a phlebotomist, including Nevada and California. California and a handful of additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you pick a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a premium education, but also prepares you for any licensing or certification exams that you are required or elect to take.
Phlebotomy Online Colleges
To start with, let's dispel one likely misconception. You can't receive all of your phlebotomy training online. A substantial component of the program of studies will be clinical training and it will be performed either in an approved healthcare facility or an on-campus lab. Many courses also require completing an internship prior to graduation. But since the non-clinical portion of the training may be attended online, it may be a more convenient option for some Birmingham AL students. As an additional benefit, a number of online programs are more affordable than their traditional competitors. And some expenditures, including those for textbooks or commuting, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist college you choose is accredited by a national or regional accrediting agency (more on accreditation later). With both the extensive clinical and online training, you can receive a superior education with this approach to learning. If you are dedicated enough to learn at home, then obtaining your degree or certificate online may be the best choice for you.
Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Colleges
Since you now have a basic idea about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already decided on 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 school is significant if you will be commuting from Birmingham AL as well as the tuition expense. Perhaps you have decided to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. Each of these decisions are an important part of the procedure for picking a phlebotomy program or school. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are several questions that you need to ask about each of the colleges you are looking at prior to making your final 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. Each has its own prerequisite regarding the minimum hours of practical training performed prior to working as a phlebotomy tech. Consequently, you might need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's very important to enroll in a phlebotomist program that fulfills the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may have to take.
Is the School Accredited? The phlebotomist program and school you select should be accredited by a highly regarded 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 school aside from a guarantee of a quality education. First, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to sit for a certification exam administered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Next, accreditation will help in getting loans or financial assistance, which are often not available for non-accredited programs. Last, earning a certificate or a degree from an accredited school can make you more desirable to future employers in the Birmingham AL job market.
What is the College's Reputation? In a number of states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist colleges, so there are some that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's imperative to check the reputations of all colleges you are looking at. You can start by requesting references from the schools from employers where they place 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 also. You can also check with a few Birmingham AL hospitals or clinics that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can offer any recommendations. As a closing thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any complaints have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.
Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, check with the state regulator where you will be practicing to learn if there are any minimum requirements for the amount of training, both classroom and practical. As a minimum, any phlebotomy program that you are considering should furnish at least 40 hours of classroom training (the majority require 120) and 120 hours of practical training. Anything below these minimums may signify that the program is not expansive enough to provide adequate training.
Are Internship Programs Provided? Find out from the schools you are looking at if they have an internship program in collaboration with area health care facilities. They are the ideal means to get hands-on practical training typically not obtainable on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students develop contacts within the local Birmingham AL medical community. And they look good on resumes as well.
Is Job Placement Support Provided? Getting your first phlebotomist position will be a lot easier with the support of a job placement program. Find out if the colleges you are looking at provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a college has a high rate, meaning they place most of their students in positions, it's an indication that the program has both a good reputation together with a large network of professional contacts within the Birmingham AL medical community.
Are Classes Offered to Fit Your Schedule? And last, it's crucial to make sure that the ultimate college you pick provides classes at times that are compatible with your active lifestyle. This is particularly important if you choose to still work while going to school. If you can only go to classes at night or on weekends near Birmingham AL, make sure they are available at those times. Also, if you can only attend on a part-time basis, make sure it is an option also. Even if you have decided to study online, with the practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be fulfilled within your schedule. And ask what the make-up policy is in case you need to miss any classes because of emergencies or illness.
Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Birmingham Alabama
Making certain that you select the most suitable phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this rewarding healthcare field. As we have covered in this article, there are multiple factors that go into the selection of a premium program. Phlebotomist training programs can be offered in a wide range of academic institutions, such as community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that offer a wide array of programs in medical care and health sciences. Program options may differ slightly from state to state as every state has its own criteria when it pertains to phlebotomy training, licensing and certification. The most critical point is that you must diligently research and compare each school prior to making your ultimate selection. By addressing the questions that we have provided, you will be able to fine tune your options so that you can pick the right phlebotomy school for you. And with the appropriate training, you can accomplish your goal of becoming a phlebotomy technician in Birmingham AL.