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Become a Phlebotomist in Birmingham Alabama

How to Select the Right Phlebotomy Technician Training Classes near Birmingham AL

Birmingham AL phlebotomist drawing blood from patientChoosing the ideal phlebotomy training near Birmingham AL is an essential first step toward a gratifying profession as a phlebotomist. It may seem like a daunting task to investigate and compare each of the training options that are accessible to you. Nevertheless it's vital that you complete your due diligence to make sure that you obtain a quality education. In reality, a large number of prospective students start their search by considering 2 of the qualifiers that initially come to mind, which are location and cost. Another factor 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 remember is that there is much more to checking out phlebotomy training programs than locating the cheapest or the closest one. Other factors such as reputation and accreditation are also important considerations and should be part of your decision process also. Toward that end, we will supply a list of questions that you need to ask each of the phlebotomy schools you are assessing to help you pick the ideal one for you. But before we do that, let's cover what a phlebotomist is and does, and afterwards resume our conversation about online classes.

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Phlebotomy Tech Job Summary

Birmingham AL phlebotomist laboratory techA phlebotomist, or phlebotomy tech, collects blood samples from patients. Although that is their main duty, there is in fact far more to their job description. Prior to collecting a blood sample, a phlebotomist has to check that the tools being utilized are single use only and sterile. Following the collection, the sample has to be correctly labeled with the patient's data. Next, 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 pregnancy, infectious diseases or blood type. Many phlebotomists actually work in Birmingham AL laboratories and are in charge of making sure that samples are tested correctly utilizing the strictest quality control procedures. And if those weren't sufficient responsibilities, they can be called upon to instruct other phlebotomists in the drawing, transport and follow-up process.

Where are Phlebotomy Techs Employed?

The most basic response is wherever patients are treated. Their workplaces are numerous and diverse, including Birmingham AL medical clinics, hospitals, nursing homes, or blood banks. They may be tasked to collect blood samples from patients of of every age, from infants or toddlers to senior citizens. Some phlebotomists, based on their practice and their training, specialize in drawing samples from a certain type of patient. For instance, those practicing in an assisted living facility or nursing home would solely be collecting blood from older patients. If they are practicing in a maternity ward, they would be collecting blood from newborns and mothers exclusively. In contrast, phlebotomists practicing in a general hospital setting would be drawing samples from a wide range of patients and would collect samples from new patients each day.

Phlebotomy Technician Education, Certification and Licensing

blood analysis done in Birmingham AL labThere are essentially 2 types of programs that furnish phlebotomist training, which are certificate and degree programs. The certificate program typically takes under a year to finish and offers a general education as well as the training on how to draw blood. It offers the quickest method to becoming a phlebotomist. An Associate of Science Degree in Clinical Laboratory Science, even though it's not specifically a phlebotomy degree, will provide training to become a phlebotomy tech. Available at junior and community colleges, they typically take 2 years to finish. Bachelor's Degrees are less available and as a four year program offer a more comprehensive background in lab sciences. When you have finished your training, you will no doubt want to become certified. Although not required in the majority of states, a number of Birmingham AL employers require 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 several states that do call for certification prior to practicing as a phlebotomist, such as Nevada and California. California and a few additional states even require licensing. So it's important that you enroll in a phlebotomy training program that not only offers a quality education, but also preps you for any certification or licensing examinations that you elect or are required to take.

Online Phlebotomy Certificates and Degrees

Birmingham Alabama woman attending phlebotomy classes onlineTo start with, let's resolve one possible misconception. You can't obtain all of your phlebotomy training online. A good portion of the course of study will be clinical training and it will be carried out either in an on-campus lab or an approved healthcare facility. A large number of courses also require completion of an internship prior to graduation. However since the non-practical part of the training may be accessed online, it might be a more convenient option for many Birmingham AL students. As an additional benefit, many online schools are more affordable than their traditional counterparts. And some costs, including those for commuting or textbooks, may be reduced also. Just verify that the online phlebotomist program you choose is accredited by a regional or national accrediting organization (more on accreditation later). With both the comprehensive clinical and online training, you can obtain a superior education with this means of learning. If you are disciplined enough to study at home, then obtaining your certificate or degree online might be the ideal choice for you.

Topics to Ask Phlebotomist Schools

Since you now have a general understanding about what is involved in becoming a phlebotomist, it's time to start your due diligence process. You might have already chosen the type of program you wish to enroll in, whether it be for a certificate or a degree. As we previously mentioned, the location of the college is significant if you will be commuting from Birmingham AL in addition to the tuition expense. Perhaps you have opted to enroll in an accredited phlebotomist online school. All of these decisions are an important part of the process for choosing a phlebotomy school or program. But they are not the only concerns when making your decision. Following are a few questions that you should ask about all of the programs you are reviewing prior to making your ultimate decision.

Is the Phlebotomist Program Specific to Your State? As earlier discussed, each state has its own requirements for practicing as a phlebotomy technician. Several states require certification, while some others mandate licensing. Each has its own requirement regarding the minimum amount of practical training completed before practicing as a phlebotomy tech. As a result, you may need to pass a State Board, licensing or certification exam. Therefore it's extremely important to choose a phlebotomy program that complies with the state specific requirements for Alabama or the state where you will be practicing and preps you for any examinations you may be required to take.

Is the College Accredited? The phlebotomy school and program you choose should be accredited by a respected regional or national accrediting organization, such as the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences (NAACLS). There are many benefits to graduating from an accredited program aside from a guarantee of a premium education. To begin with, if your program is not accredited, you will not qualify to take a certification examination offered by any of the previously listed certifying organizations. Also, accreditation will help in securing loans or financial assistance, which are often unavailable for non-accredited programs. Finally, graduating from an accredited school can make you more attractive to potential employers in the Birmingham AL job market.

What is the College's Reputation? In many states there is little or no regulation of phlebotomist schools, so there are those that are not of the highest caliber. So along with accreditation, it's essential to check the reputations of any colleges you are looking at. You can begin by requesting references from the schools from employers where they refer their graduates as part of their job placement program. You can research internet school rating and review services and ask the accrediting organizations for their reviews as well. You can even talk to a few Birmingham AL clinics or hospitals that you may have an interest in working for and find out if they can provide any insights. As a final thought, you can check with the Alabama school licensing authority and ask if any grievances have been filed or if the schools are in total compliance.

Is Plenty of Training Provided? First, contact 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. As a minimum, any phlebotomist 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 expansive enough to furnish adequate training.

Are Internships Sponsored? Find out from the programs you are reviewing if they have an internship program in partnership with regional medical facilities. They are the ideal way to get hands-on clinical training often not available on campus. As an additional benefit, internships can assist students establish relationships within the local Birmingham AL health care community. And they are a plus on resumes also.

Is Job Placement Help Offered? Finding your first phlebotomist job will be much easier with the help of a job placement program. Find out if the programs you are reviewing provide assistance and what their job placement percentage is. If a school has a higher 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 Classes Available as Needed? Finally, it's important to verify that the ultimate school you select provides classes at times that are compatible with your hectic schedule. This is particularly important if you opt to still work while going to school. 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 practical training requirement, make certain those hours can also be completed within your schedule. And find out what the make-up protocol is should you need to miss any classes because of illness or emergencies.

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Pick the Best Phlebotomy Training Program near Birmingham Alabama

Making certain that you select the right phlebotomist training is a critical first step toward your success in this gratifying health care career position. As we have discussed in this article, there are a number of factors that contribute toward the selection of a quality school. Phlebotomy training programs are found in a wide range of academic institutes, including community or junior colleges, trade schools, and colleges and universities that provide a wide range of courses in medical care and health sciences. Course options may differ a bit from state to state as every state has its own prerequisites when it pertains to phlebotomy training, certification and licensing. The most important point is that you must thoroughly screen and compare each college prior to making your ultimate choice. By asking the questions that we have furnished, you will be able to narrow down your options so that you can select the ideal phlebotomist program for you. And with the proper education, you can realize your goal of becoming a phlebotomist in Birmingham AL.